Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 23, 2017

Artist versus Photographer

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Big Raft, Bluewater Shore, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Recent events related to the self-publishing of my limited edition artist book Bluewater Shore now has me rethinking how I might describe myself: artist or photographer? Okay another option might be artist/photographer. I am probably thinking more about this whole classification subject because of my current reflection on the subject of “Branding” for my Marketing Your Photo Book workshop coming up at LACP in July.

So here’s whats been happening; I have been reaching out to some photographic friends and editorial acquaintances who helped me with the promotion of my earlier artist book Pine Lake to spread the word about Bluewater Shore. I did not anticipate all of the rejections based on the fact I am using family archive photographs as my source material versus the fact that I did not actually take the original photographs. I am not sure what has happened or shifted in the past four years, but it seems that a lot more photographic folks are being more discerning as to what constitutes a “photographic” book.

Their response is that Bluewater Shore is an artist book using vernacular photographs which I found to create my artwork versus being a “pure” photographic project in which I created (photographed) the original photographic source material similar to my book Ciociaria. Or maybe I have pitched my Bluewater Shore story incorrectly? Now that I take a closer look at these magazine and web-zines I see that artwork similar to what I created for Bluewater Shore is not being featured.

So maybe you are wondering; what’s the big deal? For me it might be that I have been envisioning myself as just a “photographer” when I made this declaration back in 2008. Realize that for about 15 years before that I was a painter so I thought that this was a big deal that I was dedicating myself to photography. I also did not think it was a big deal to create my two self-published books Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore since I was using photographic material. Wrong!

Turns out what I perceived I was doing is not matching up with the outside world’s perception. I think there was hints of this difference while I was talking with those who attended my exhibit space at Photo Independent for my launch of Bluewater Shore but at the time I was not picking up on it. Duh!

This takes me to the Stockdale Paradox (okay, this was from Admiral James Stockdale, un-related); which states “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties” while at the same time “Confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, what they might be“. So the brutal facts of my current reality is that I am deemed to be an artist and I am NOT a pure photographer. Which is probably good to know and understand.

I am not sure that this is a seismic shift of who/what I think I am; but what this does is better prepare me for where/who I make submissions of my work. I still feel that I am part of the pure photographic community since that is also the space I created both of my photo-investigations In Passing and Ciociaria. Nevertheless this means that I will go across those pure photographic borders when I am inspired to do so and I need to understand the implications when I do.

Another aspect of this is that curators, art directors and others like and actually are more comfortable with classifications. So am I an artist or an artist/photographer? I guess if I have to chose one it would appear that I am an artist and one who uses primarily photographic source material, mine as well as others. Done.

Maybe this is a seismic shift after all as I now need to look at all my photographic reference sites, e.g. LensCulture and here on Singular Images, and make some adjustment tweaks to my biography; artist, educator and mentor.

Cheers!

May 21, 2017

Reflective weekend – May 21, 2017

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 7:47 pm

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San Clemente Beach May 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This was not a great weekend. Earlier in week I was not feeling great, but Thursday evening and Friday morning I seemed to be over what-ever-it-was. But what-ever-it-was came back to bite me Friday afternoon and only this morning did it seem I was getting on the mend. I suspect it was strep throat. sigh. I have been drinking so much hot tea that I keep track of by the kettle-fulls, not by the cups. Even sipping a cup while I write this.

So in between some long naps, I have been thinking about my photography and my art. Seems that I have wondered into being more of an artist than a photographer with my second artist book Bluewater Shore. Which has a lot to do with the fact that I used someone else’s photographs as a source material versus the fact that I did not take the actual photographs. This appears to be a bigger deal for a lot of other photographers, galleries, photo magazines and now collectors. At the moment I just need to think about this some more, but it does create a shift in my/others perception.

The photograph above was something that I had energy to play with this weekend between my various naps; initially this was a very straight photo but after posting my earlier Experiment/play urban landscape, I decided to apply some of the same SnapSeed magic to this image. It’s a combination of desaturation of the colors and some refined Lens Blur filter. I feel it definitely changes the feeling that this photograph now evokes. Interesting. Btw, I made the original just about this same time last year but added the current copyright date to reflect that I created this new edition recently.

So that’s all the energy I have for now, perhaps time for either another cup of tea or a nap (or both in quick succession!)

Cheers!

 

May 18, 2017

Life Guard Station #14 – San Clemente

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Life Guard Station #14, San Clemente, CA, May 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

The same day this month that I captured the gradations beach photo on San Clemente beach that I discussed here, I also photographed the adjacent Life Guard Station #14. In fact I believe that the earlier beach photograph was captured in front of this Guard station.

These are relatively two different photographic image treatments, although both share a similar frontal and formal framing. As the occasion was at dusk, the Life Guard Station was closed down for the evening, thus has a somber, if not lonely, air about it and the beach was without the throngs of beach-goers. But being a man-built structure this does hint at the surrounding beach-oriented culture.

I think the shallow dept of field places more emphasis on this structure rather than the breaking surf in the background. There is still enough environmental context provided while yet still being ambiguous (and hopefully a little mystery) to allow a viewer an opportunity to create their own stories and recall similar memories.

Btw, the subtle differences between the two modified images has me thinking about how I document events and the subsequent treatments applied to the images. Perhaps because I am doing some mentoring for other photographers now and I need to consider my own advice regarding how one creates their own “Brand”. So I suspect I will be writing more about that in the months to come.

Cheers!

May 17, 2017

Experiment-play – LA landscape

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Los Angeles, I-5 Freeway, March 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While driving up the I-5 Freeway into Los Angeles earlier this year, I was again finding myself in the bump-to-bumper traffic grind common for this part of Southern California. So similar to my bumper-to-bumper photographs in my recent drives to San Diego, I used the opportunity that when I came to a complete stop to take a photo of the adjacent landscape. So the resulting urban landscape photographs are a combination of serendipity and chance, something that the Surrealist would appreciate.

The resulting photographs from this day-shoot lay dormant, but I kept coming back to this photographic set as there was something there that retained my interest. Over this last weekend I found myself working on one of the photographs and the results are posted above. This photograph is in line with my idea of experiment-play in which I give myself a lot of freedom to visually experiment.

There is a bit of artistic manipulation of the image, but not too far visually off what might be possible with a long lens from a distance further back while using a wide open (shallow depth of field) aperture. So it’s kinda of “realistic” and might pass as a “straight” photograph. Nevertheless I posted this on Instagram and was somewhat impressed by the big response as measured by the amount of likes.

For me, I have moved beyond a straight document of the landscape to something more personal, perhaps a little more ambiguous, a touch of mystery and that has some metaphoric potential. As Sara Terry said about my Memory Pods project, I have made this subject my own. It has my imprint on it. (Okay, what does that mean? Good question as I am not sure yet, but this idea has my wheels turning)

So this has me thinking some more about my other freeway photographs that I have taken over the years in which I might want to reconsider what a straight or documentary style image should look like. Or perhaps better yet, what is my take on LA and how should I interpret this urban landscape?

Cheers!

 

 

May 16, 2017

Gradations – San Clemente Beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:08 am

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San Clemente Beach, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the delightful aspects of picking Ella up at the San Clemente train station is that the station is directly adjacent to the Pacific ocean. We are talking about only a few yards. Thus I normally volunteer to pick her up and then I leave early enough to spend a little time on the beach in the late afternoon to absorb the sights, smells and sounds of the ocean. And on many occasions, take a beach photo, which I realize is an overworked genre of landscapes (seascapes), but nevertheless I find this subject intriguing.

On this occasion with some weather coming in, I realized that I was visually captivated by the various gradations created by the layers of cloud, sea and surf breaking on the shore. I have some versions in which there is a small surf break rolling in, but I found that I preferred this photograph with the flatter water while the wave was in the early stages of forming. I am always fascinated by the ensuing temporal patterns created on the beach as the ocean water recedes.

For this photograph I also desaturated the colors towards a monotone gray-blue palette as this seemed better suited to what I was feeling at the moment, probably a bit of departure from those who might amp up the color saturation for instances such as this.

I also notice that I have been accumulating a collection of these pensive seascapes, so I will see where my muse leads me this ;- )

Cheers!

May 4, 2017

Bluewater Shore book launch at Photo Independent

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Photography by Jessica Sterling, copyright 2017

Well I thought I was going to post this a bit sooner after the Photo Independent exhibition, but all of the post-exhibition follow-up needed tending to first. Such as taking more orders for Bluewater Shore, (which can be ordered here) finishing the production of this artist edition, then start mailing the pre-orders, contacting other editors about book reviews and of course contacting book stores about carrying Bluewater Shore. Time flies when I am busy, busy, busy.

First, the exhibition and book launch of Bluewater Shore was great and I had a great time connecting with other photographers, making stronger relationships with acquaintances and starting some new connections. Even sold some of my edition, which of course was the sweetest part of the deal for a book launch.

At the last moment before driving up to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon for Photo Independent  I was able to print six of my 15 x 15″ image prints from Bluewater Shore as part of a portfolio and unexpectedly ended up discussing some potential commissions as a result. My purpose for the prints was to help stop traffic and start a discussion about my book, but there was some strong positive responses to the vernacular photographic prints. So it will be interesting to see where this leads.

I also had a chance to spend time talking with Roger Ballen who was the featured photographer for Photo Independent. As a result of my Editorial role with The PhotoBook journal, we had been in email contact and book discussions over the years about his publications, so this was the first chance we had to meet and have a discussion during the events. Ballen also provided some creative book signings for a couple of his books that were in my collection. Very nice.

I provided a book discussion on Sunday morning as a result of being a jurist for the Photo Independent Book Competition which went very well. My principal focus was on discussing the design and layout of the competition’s winning books and a couple of the honorable mentions.

Also coming news, I will be doing portfolio reviews at LACP’s Exposure 2017 in Santa Monica next July 16th at the dnj Gallery and finalizing as guest curator for the L.A. Photo Curator photographic competition next September. More details about these two events shortly, so stay tuned!

In closing another reminder that the 20% discount for an early-bird registration for my two LACP photo book workshops, Marketing Your Photo Book, July 22nd and Introduction to Photo Book Design Oct 1st & 8th, are still in available for another couple of weeks.

Cheers!

Doug

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above, discussing Bluewater Shore, photography by Gerhard Clausing, copyright 2017

below, Roger Ballen signing one of his books from my collection

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April 24, 2017

Two more photo book workshops with LACP

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography, Projects/Series, Workshops — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:33 pm

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Copyright 2016/7 Douglas Stockdale

Oh wow, as if things were not crazy enough last week trying to finish enough of the edition of Bluewater Shore for the book launch at Photo Independent that LACP came back at me to schedule another Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop for next Fall (see below) and follow up on my idea for a one-day book marketing workshop. More about the Photo Independent book launch in the next couple of days as I want to get word of the workshops out as there is a limited time discount available.

Thus I am very excited to announce that I will be providing two more photobook workshops in partnership with LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) at their Los Angeles facilities later this year. Both have a 20% early-bird sign up until May 26th.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd. This workshop is is intended for photographers who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher, and will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing their photo book.

The morning will be spent understanding your publishing objectives and how that translates to a marketing plan. This will include discussing the basic elements of a marketing plan; what is being published and sold, who might purchase it, where to sell it, how to price it and how and when to promote it. Issues to be discussed include; how soon to start working on a plan, book economics and buyers price points, buy or create a mailing list, selling self-published books, and do’s and don’ts of using social media and web sites. During the workshop, I am planning a series of breakout sessions to enable development of each person’s specific marketing plan for their book.

Introduction to Photo Book Design – This Fall (October 1 and 8th), I will be repeating my popular (in talking to folks at Photo Independent the workshop reviews coming back to LACP were very, very good!) two-day workshop that focuses on the development of each person’s book dummy for their personal photographic project and provides both creative and practical book design options.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first session will be spent understanding students’ publishing objectives and how that translates to a book object. This will include time discussing the elements of book design and the purpose of a book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine. The second session delves into the business elements of (self) publishing a book and photo book production. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project.

I hope you can join me as these are intense, yet fun, workshops.

The workshops are being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

April 15, 2017

Bluewater Shore – limited edition artist book

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book, Books, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:20 pm

Bluewater Shore cover in clear slip case KI6A5662

Bluewater Shore (book cover with poly slip-cover) Copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Bluewater Shore is a semi-fictional visual narrative about a young woman’s holiday, an exciting unescorted trip to the shore with friends, which is set in the late 1940’s and investigates a new sense of independence for women that occurred during and following World War II as well as American culture, family, and memory. The limited edition artist book was developed from repurposed vernacular photographs from the artist’s family archive and the concept was partly inspired by Kodak and Ansco promotional booklets that were available with dime/drug stores film processing in the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.

Concept, development & design: Douglas Stockdale copyright 2017

Flip-book, stiff covers, prong binding, hand-inscribed cover, hand-inscribed poly slip case, 32 pages, 16 black & white photographs, size: 7 ½” x 6” (190 mm x 155 mm)

Self-published artist book, limited edition of 99 + 5 A/P; price $47.00 USD (44 €, 37.5 £, 5,230 ¥,)

Printing: Fultone© digital lithography by Dual Graphics, (Brea, CA), hand-bound by the artist.

Additional photographs: www.douglasstockdale.com (Bluewater Shore – artist book)

Bluewater Shore can be purchase here.

Official book launch: Photo Independent, Los Angeles, CA April 21- 23, 2017

Cheers!

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Bluewater_Shore-the_Wise_guy

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Introduction to Photo Book Design Workshop – final thoughts

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LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design Workshop, Douglas Stockdale with workshop members, photo by Nikki Washburn

Now that the LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop is complete,  a few closing thoughts. First, this was an intense workshop, a ton of information to pass along in conjunction with those attending heavily engaged in developing their rough book dummy. I will admit that there were a couple of items on the agenda that in retrospect that I did not dive into deep enough. Since I know that I will be leading this workshop again (see below), I am making some notes and slight adjustments to the outline.

It appears from the workshop feedback for my surprise limited edition hand made book that we self-published at the start of the workshop (members holding their editions, photo above), did have the impact that I had hoped for. Making this book energized the workshop as to the potential for self-publishing and took away some of the mystery of book publishing. Nice. Also raised the bar for producing this booklet in future workshop!

The one week break between the workshop sessions had a big impact on those attending to return home really dig into the development of their book dummies. The resulting dummies that were shared on the start of the second session were amazing and the energy each person brought back to the class was very contagious. The book dummy’s were as varied and diverse as those attending the workshop. The photographs below are of the participants who completed their rough book dummy, a big step forward for each.

By the way, did I mention that I was equally inspired to create my first dummy for my Middle Ground project? I brought it to the workshop and shared it with the group after everyone had an opportunity to have their dummy’s critiqued. I enjoyed my feedback as well and I will be posting more about this dummy and project in the weeks and months to come ;- )

Some really good news? I will be repeating this workshop with LACP next Fall, probably in early October and a second one-day LACP workshop is now in the works: Marketing Your Photobook. As advance notice the Marketing workshop is being planned for Saturday, July 22nd at the LACP facilities in Los Angeles and more information to follow soon!

Cheers

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop144831-01_Gerhard_Clausing

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144845-01_Safi_Shabaik

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144902-01_Christine_Riedell

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop_144916-01_Hannah_Kozak

LACP Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop 144929-01_Tomas_Gasper

Bluewater Shore – Final Press Checks

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:04 am

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Final Press check, Craig Evans, Dual Graphics, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

At one point a couple of years ago I was not so sure that this event was going to happen; working on the press-checks at the printer for the pending publication of Bluewater Shore. And here we are.

There were a couple of scheduling hiccups this past week, so while we had hoped to be doing the pres-checks at the beginning of the week, here we were doing it today. Before this, I had a chance to evaluate the soft proofs, but today I was looking at the printer and examining printed sheets as they came off the digital litho printing press, aka, hard-proofs or in this case, actually a press-check.

Fortunately I had already provided some match prints that I printed earlier on my Epson 4800 on Epson paper, so when we looked at each printed sheet (below in the light box) I could compare this to my match prints. Out of 16 printed sheets, I found that a slight increase in contrast (more density) was required for only three of the plates, otherwise spot on. Since we were using the Fultone printing process (two inks: Grey + Black) developed by Dual Graphics, the black and white images looked amazing. Granted that due to my intent, I had “aged” the images and backed off on the contrast to simulate a faded photograph, but these looked truly like old photographs. We also used a slightly off-white luster paper that works really well with this book.

We also evaluated the color and heavier stock for the book’s cover and this looked great as well. Only thing left was a confirmation to ensure that the holes would be drilled in the right location for the prong binding.

I provided my approvals and all systems were GO! The printing should be completed tonight, then the secondary operations to trim, score and drill the holes. Right now we are looking at a completion date of Wednesday, which is going to be a bit tight for having the finished books bound and inscribed for Photo Independent Friday afternoon, I will not need to finish them all, but have enough for the exhibition. Might bring a few parts with me and if a lull in the action during the exhibition, assemble a few more books.

This artist book will be literately hot off the press!

Cheers and hopefully see some of you at Photo Independent next weekend in Los Angeles. Give me a shout out if you plan to stop by ;- )

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04-14-17 Press-check_Bluewater_Shore_085431-01_Dual_Graphics_Craig_Evans

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