Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

December 8, 2016

Walking Santa Fe (& a creative lesson from Todd Hido)

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:13 am

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2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the nice aspects of Santa Fe, New Mexico is the relatively small and centralized layout of this early Western town.It is quaint, very picturesque, great food and now has a zillion art galleries, including a couple of photographic galleries; photo-eye and Verve (which regretfully in closing in February 2017) and the photo-eye book store. Also ideal for staying in a place in or adjacent to town (we did a rental house over this past Thanksgiving weekend) and then walking everywhere you want or need; day or night.

This little trip also falls into one of creative photographic idea generators found in The Photographer’s Playbook as explained by Todd Hido, sub-titled Exposure Yourself (pg 149). Essentially exposure yourself to a different environment by going for at least two nights to someplace you normally don’t go (this is our first visit to Sante Fe). Leave yourself open to spontaneity; no plans to meet anyone or anything set in stone (okay, I knew that at some point I was going to the photo-eye bookstore), perhaps with the exception of when and how you are going to return home. And need to take lots and lots of pictures of whatever grabs your interest. This method of Expose Yourself has worked for many photographers over the years to either change things up or reconfirm what they enjoy working on (yes,  various aspects of the urban & built landscape continue to interest me).

This creative process is also integral with my experiment-fun methodology; all the photographs in the mini-portfolio are hand-held using my Samsung camera phone, then processed with Snapseed for immediate uploading on Instagram (@douglasstockdale). The mini-portfolio below has now been additionally tweaked with Photoshop now that I am back to my home-studio. Although I know I need to make multiple exposures for my night images to try & ensure I did not have a shaky image, the night photographs did not necessarily turn out as well as expected. Still, in keeping with my game plan, I had a lot of fun.

By the way, no accident that I included the Clafoutis Bakery in this mini-portfolio; an excellent french breakfast & pastries, which is a nice change from the spicy New Mexican foods of Santa Fe.

Cheers!

Btw, this is a re-post of a previous post because I really goofed it up the first time (that’s another story). Sorry about that!

The Walking Santa Fe mini-portfolio

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December 4, 2016

Walking Denver

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:43 pm

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Denver 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I found this to be an interesting urban landscape while we were walking a little bit of Denver (Colorado) this past week.. The Fall colors in conjunction with most of the leaves now laying on the ground, that in turn reveal the older house that was probably hiding behind the shrubs and trees has metaphoric potential. Part and parcel with my current photographic philosophy of experiment-play and it is unknown to me what might evolve from this. That is the fun part, who knows?

Cheers!

December 3, 2016

Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern – The Photographer’s Playbook

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:44 pm

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Copyright 2014 Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern published by Aperture

While in Santa Fe and visiting the photo-eye book store, I had an opportunity to get a copy of Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern’s book The Photographer’s Playbook. The subtitle reveals the essentials of this book; 307 (photographic) Assignments and Ideas, which are distilled from 307 photographers, curators, photographic academia and workshop leaders, including Aline Smithson, Mark Steinmetz, Jim Goldberg, Stephen Shore, John Gossage and many more. From my perspective, this book draws heavily on a few photographic academia programs for BFA and MFA photographic programs.

It appears that the book is focused on young and inexperienced photographers who are searching for the reason to be a fine art photographer (as part of a BFA/MFA program) or for a photographer who is stuck in a dry spell as to how to find conceptual ideas to development next. If you have the technical side of photography down then working through a bunch of these assignments could provide you with an equivalent BFA/MFA education as to the conceptual projects you work on. What may be missing is the group critiques offered in the academic programs and instructors that might challenge you (alternatively a best friend that can continue to say “No, try again, dig deeper”). So find a small group photographic/artist peers that you can count on to be candid and talk/show the work/assignments, a group who can say “Very cool, I see where you are going, keep at it, dig deeper”

To be candid, there are some ideas within this book that are similar to other ideas I have developed over the years to help me consider photographic options and move my concepts forward. I will continue to write about some of them, such as my post earlier this morning about experiment-play (games), a frequent idea (27 different variations) that is recommended in this book. In my case, experiment-play was what I was doing that led me to my Memory Pods project that I have been working on for just about three years now. Recently, experiment-play is what inspired me to start the Middle Ground (aka Life in the Slow Lane) project earlier this year.

To be fully transparent, as a portfolio reviewer for LensCulture, we also provide some resource recommendations as part of the portfolio review and this book is one that I recommend to photographers who have a photo technique but appear to looking for a project to apply their process.

Cheers!

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November 12, 2016

Just Announced: LACP introductory book design class next Spring

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:58 pm

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Douglas Stockdale 2016 photograph by Ella Webb

Surprise! Not often you will see my mug on this blog. The special occasion is that Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) just added my profile as one of the LACP instructors for a introductory book design class I have developed and will be leading next Spring.

The workshop has just been formally announced, so check out the class details and if in the LA area next Spring, please consider joining the book making fun. The class is going to occur over two consecutive Saturdays; April 1st and 8th, from 10am to 6pm.

Oh yeah, the class size is limited to ensure that I don’t become overextended and everyone gets the help and assistance they need.

Early Bird Sale also now in effect; save 20%!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me.

Cheers!

 

 

November 3, 2016

Memory pods – 9-12-16 negative #8

Filed under: Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:41 pm

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Untitled (September 12, 2016 Portra 160 Negative #8) 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just finished scanning this negative from my Memory Pods project. For this photograph, my subject is just barely out of focus. I have determined that this negative in conjunction with two others from this same studio session might create an interesting triptych, a progression of the same subject slowly going out of focus with this image the third of the three. I am currently scanning the #9 negative, which has one of the extended tips in focus, then when that is complete, I will load #10 into the scanner which will have a bit more in focus.

Pre-visualizing this project as a published book, I would anticipate that this three image progression would be ideally suited to a gate-fold. One image, probably the one with the most focused memory pod, would be on the outside and as the gate-fold is opened, the reader would see the progression of the subject fading away with the two remaining photographs.

Second, this studio session was the result of wanting to create an analog/film version of my earlier digital image titled “Ghost“. I know that I can not exactly duplicate this earlier photograph as the actual dried stem was discarded a couple of years ago. So I am attempting to obtain the similar emotional image that I was initially drawn into investigating.

One thing I have to admit; previously I mostly scanned black&white negatives or color transparencies, thus still a little getting used to scanning and subsequently processing the color negatives.

Cheers!

October 18, 2016

On the scanner: 09-04-16 negative 12

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:55 am

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Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Cooking on the Nikon film scanner is negative #12 from my September 4th studio session working on my Memory Pods project. Hasselblad & 150 mm f/4 lens with two 21mm extension tubes, Kodak Portra 160 with an E.I. of 80, normal film processing.

Scan is taking a little longer as I did remember to scan at a 14 bit size (think I forgot for the last scan). Scan is at super fine: 16 times sampling for each scan pass.

The dried and slumping Memory pods are out of focus while the jumble and tangled elements are just in focus. This image kept coming to me while on vacation last week, thus the first of the new batch on the scanner now that we are back.

Next is the extensive spotting of the scan file, then all of the usual magic.

Cheers

October 6, 2016

lemonade stand

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:05 pm

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Untitled (Life in the Slow Lane) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

So a good friend tells me that since I am trying to make lemonade from lemons and my photographs are created when the car comes to a complete stand still in traffic, then really I have a “lemonade stand”. sigh.

I continue to think about some of the elements that I photograph while working  on this project; that when the traffic stops and where I come to halt is very arbitrary, there is a big element of chance as to what the landscape exists beside me is at that given moment. What is in the foreground; the debris, vegetation and condition of the meridian is the first layer of the photograph. The next layer is the passing cars in the opposite lane, which are not in bumper to bumper traffic. Then if visible beyond the meridian is an open landscape of trees, vegetation, hills, and man-made structures. So now what are the potential metaphors for these photographs?

It is also interesting to me that this is another project that is evolving from my playing around with the mobile phone. I think that I allow myself a sense of experimentation and trying to have fun when I use the mobile camera phone. So I hope to keep that playfulness going; an endless series of singular images and open ended investigations.

Cheers!

October 5, 2016

Lemonade

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:34 pm

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Life in the slow lane, Southern California, copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Yes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So this may or may not develop into a full project, but at the moment I am reacting to this current experience. I have an assignment in San Diego that frequently has allowed me to drive down the I-5 freeway in the morning and become entangled in what is called the north county bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. Prior to this, for the same assignment, I was driving up the I-5 and 101 freeway into and through Los Angles, and experiencing a similar bumper-to-bumper traffic stall, just that the view while stopped on the freeway was different. Exactly; this crappy drive was a like some really sour lemons!

Initially, it was pleasant time to listen to the XM tunes, but then I started noticing things while stopped in traffic that I had not notices blasting through the same area at 65 miles per hour. Similar to my In Passing and Lest I Forget projects, what we miss while hurling along through life. So I started taking some photographs with my mobile phone/Samsung and found that these were kinda of interesting images. Then I started posting them on Instagram and surprise, others thought these photographs were kinda of interesting too.

So now I am evaluating the potential of using film with this project and the first step for me was evaluating a larger image and determining what lens I might want to use. I locked down my Canon zoom lens at 28mm which provides a wide view similar to that of the Samsung and would look similar to the 50mm f/4 Ziess lens on the Hasselblad. Since I would have very little time to grab a photograph with the Hasselbald when I had a random stop, I would need to prefocus and set up the exposure ahead of time, then play it by ear. So that is what I tried to simulate and similar to the Samsung photographs, I find these kinda of interesting.

Issue to resolve; driving south in the morning means looking directly into the rising sun and dealing with some mega-backlight conditions (see the lens flare in the first image below). Then driving back home in the afternoon, the same back-light conditions reversed. So I could fight that or work with it, again try to make some lemonade. Either way, I will be driving down to San Diego for a while so I am trying to figure out how to make the best of this without going nuts, which is my life in the slow lane.

Cheers!

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October 4, 2016

Film plus scan processing

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:27 pm

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Untitled (Memory Pods project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

I have been rephotographing some of my memory pod subjects with film and just realized a very inexpensive creative tool; when processing my film at ProPhoto (Irvine, CA), for just a small bit more, I can obtain a medium resolution scan of each image. Seems that when the film is processed, it automatically passes by the film scanner and so the relative cost of capturing that scan and providing it as a CD is not very expensive (film process, a 5×5″ print for each negative and the scans cost $13.00 for the 12 exposure 120 film).

I have a light box for looking at negatives and a corresponding 5×5″ print, but when I really want to check out the details of the negative before I invest in a much larger scan, I have found it very convenient to look at these medium resolution scans. Likewise, I can make some quick adjustments in Photoshop to anticipate what the final image will look like, such as the one with this post. Thus made the decision for this last roll of film that I want to obtain a high-resolution scan for negatives #8, #9 and #10.

Only hitch in my giddy-up was finding out the the scanner soft ware at ProPhoto was set up for Windows XP and not Windows 10. When trying to view the first CD on my Windows 10 machine, the computer kept wanting to reformat the disk. So on a whim I tried to open the CD on my older XP machine and there were the jpeg images. When talking with John at ProPhoto, he did not realize that his PC disks were only readible on XP (guessing that most of his clients are on Mac’s).

I was considering a film version of my 5D digital version of “Ghost”, but I realized that I did not save the dried up stem after the first year working this project. This might be an alternative, but I also like a progression I made on film with the same subject adjusting the focus, which could become a triptych, so I am not sure the title.

Cheers!

September 14, 2016

Leveraging an exhibition Honorable Mention

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Depression (Memory Pods Project) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

From what I have learned over the years is that I as an artist need to take the first steps to contact various curators and galleries to move ahead and ensure I get noticed. Self-promotion 101. I have to admit, and this is not popular among many artist, but being an artist also means you are a small independent business. Thus with the recent Honorable Mention from IFAC “All Media” exhibition, I need to see how to further leverage this event and obtain recognition with other curators and galleries.Which is to say, I need to contact them directly and ask for an opportunity to show my work.

This also means I need to step up my presentation of the body of work to share and discuss for potential portfolio reviews. Okay, so what does that mean? First, my current portfolio for Memory Pods is printed 15×19″ on Epson Professional Matte paper; I think the size is good but I need to be printing on my exhibition (and sales) medium, which for me right now is the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag (smooth surface), 308 gm matte, which is acid free and a great fine art cotton paper. This paper provides a better feel (heavier) and reinforces the image of a print as an art object, images look beautiful and provides for a more professional artist presentation.

So over the weekend I have been reprinting my Memory Pods photographs, but also reassessing the image regarding my intent for this image. As a result I have had to tweak the colors, etc for a few of the photographs. Thus the reprinting did not proceed quickly and now is only about half complete.

Second, now looking at portfolio presentation cases as my current black portfolio holder is okay for storage, but not professional looking. So I am evaluating a Museum-Solander case (e.g. Archival Methods) for the 17×22″ prints, which is elegant in design, archival, opens flat to obtain art work, but not cheap (little over $200 USD). On my wish list and I will see how the next portfolio review goes as to making this investment.

Third is the “leave-behind” artist card. I have a business card now, but more of a company card versus an artist business card (there is a creative difference). Also, I do not have a small art card for one of photographs. Again on my wish list, but these are not that expensive and I can buy the stock and print these myself. In the short term, I do have extra copies of LensWork that my In Passing project was featured in to leave behind and I have found that this magazine does make an impact.

The good news is that I just received a confirmation from the curator of the IFAC who would like to see my Memory Pods portfolio in the next couple of weeks. Nice as I am also considering a submission for an individual exhibition at IFAC during their 2017 open call this month.

Cheers!

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