Untitled (#120 Memory Pods) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
Last year I found myself photographing of all things, plants. Not a genre that that I have been drawn to before, but while messing around with the macro focusing capabilities of my Samsung 4, I started to investigate some aloe vera plants that had gone to seed in my back yard. On reflection, I realized the conceptual possibilities to explore memory and its preservation. Memory Pods turned into a very addicting project and really consumed me for about two and half months. I did not complete very many photobook reviews during this time, nor work any of my other projects and stopped work on my self published limited edition photobook BlueWater Shore, the follow on book to Pine Lake.
I also spent a ton of time editing, tweaking and working the resulting Memory Pod photographs last Summer and into the Fall. I sensed some gaps in the project, so I have decided that I would resume this project again this year and take a couple of photographs of the flowers before the seed pods began to form. To facilitate this project I will also investigate the use of a 120mm Makro lens for my Hasselblad in conjunction with color negative film. Now a buddy of mine is going to lend me his 120mm Makro and if this lens works out, I will probably be on the hunt to purchase a used one in excellent condition this summer.
Meanwhile, this small group of plants are rapidly sending out shoots (yes, nice and warm here in Southern California, Spring has indeed sprung) and I am not due to obtain the 120mm Makro until late next week. So with opportunities quickly developing I will make due with the DSLR on work on some ideas.
Yep, more to come….
Sidewalk Superintendent (Acuto, Italy, 2010) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
Okay, where to start? This photograph was made while I was working on my Ciociaria project, but this image did not make the final edit into the photobook. Nevertheless, it has always intrigued me as this scene is just a little slice of urban life, almost universal in nature. Some guys have a job to do and a local decides to provide some advice.
I like how I was transparent to everyone except for the two dogs. I had their full attention.
So I am posting this photograph for a Throw-back Thursday image.
Untitled (Cheesman Park, February 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
Earlier this week I posted another vision of this photograph, one that has a little more dramatic interpretation of this same composition. Many might consider this the more representative version, not entirely banal, but with some metaphoric vestiges.
This is part of my investigation of memory, how this region might be layered with it, both past and new memories in the making. As to this photograph, I am not sure that it is all that interesting, as it seems to illustrate a complete, singular image while not seemingly to ask many questions.
It was tempting to sit on one of these benches for a while, which regretfully I did not. The group I was walking with were getting short on time and we needed to press on. Nevertheless these do seem to beckon me back, to repose under the spreading limbs and watch the world meander by. Realistically they do not look all that comfortable with the hard bony steel slats, but I would still like to try them out.
Could it be part of my puzzle? Perhaps, as I guess time will tell.
Untitled (Humboldt St, Cheesman Park District, February 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
There is something about the circa 1910 window casements that connects with me, probably as this reminded me so much of my Grandparents house.
A window makes a wonderful metaphoric subject, but as a genre, it titters on the edge of visual over-use and the danger of becoming trite. Nevertheless, I find that this composition is interesting as I investigate the memories of this house on Humboldt Street within the context of the Cheesman Park region. The translucent curtains provides a layer of indeterminacy evoking a feeling of some place in between the internal and external experiences.
Untitled (Cheesman Park, February 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
While walking through Cheesman Park, I could not help but notice this pair of benches under this very mature tree. I am not sure of the age of this tree or these benches as to how long they have been dutifully performing their tasks. I did pause and give thought as to the many individuals who have taken rest and contemplated what lay before them. Perhaps some were here before the growing trees and built landscape obscured the distant mountain peaks in the distance?
Untitled (Humboldt Street, February 2015), copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
My first image of my Cheesman Park District series. I am attempting to investigate a region of historic Denver as to how those who live here preserve memories through the built structures, thus indirectly preserving the past memories, while layering on new memories.
Always a question as to how to move a project forward, how to visually interpret what is there and what narrative to create. In most of my recent projects, there is a personal subtext; that I have a personal connection to the photographs and the stories that ensue. This series is similar to my Ciociaria project, that of dropping into a little known place, wondering around to go deep, observing and attempting to be open to how memory and its preservation are intertwined.
So while waiting for the voice of my muse to become clearer, I will work on some creative options. In this case, I seem to be opting for a pictorial & stylized narrative that has some lyrical qualities.
Untitled (Cheesman Park marker) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
This last week I was on vacation with my family in Colorado mostly doing some skiing in Vail. Okay, perhaps a bit of photography too, but more about the photography in Vail in a later post. Of interest to me was an opportunity to check out the Cheesman Park District in Denver, an area that I had little knowledge of until this past weekend. It is a much older region of Denver with much of the built landscape originating at the turn of the 20th Century (yep, old by US standards).
As such, this region is infested with very interesting and unique homes and buildings that indirectly show the presence of those who currently live here and embedded with many memories. Thus I have the feeling that I have embarked on another long term photography project and I sense I will be returning to this area to further investigate what I see and feel.
Untitled (Zachary, High Desert, Arizona, November 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
On occasion, I am blessed by serendipity. This young guy had been zooming around and over the rocks and various trails. Then he paused, ever so momentary.
Untitled (High Desert, Oak Creek, November 2014) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
Last November in Oak Creek, Arizona. Mixed emotions, many memories here over the past couple of decades. This represents an open ended question for me.
So I will see how this progresses.
Nocturnal III (below: Nocturnal II & Nocturnal) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
This last week I was on assignment in the Baltimore area and from what I anticipated about this trip, it was going to be long and late hours entirely inside with a large group of people, which indeed it turned out to be. Thus I was no really anticipating any opportunities to work on my own projects, which in retrospect probably allowed me to relax and be open to what appeared before me.
The location was an industrial area in the northern suburbs of Baltimore with a mix of older industrial and a spattering of older residential, an area that could have be interesting to walk about if given the time. Regretfully, only a tiny bit of dawn light and not much time to use it. I was already on a sleep deficit attempting to adjust with the three hour difference from SoCal, so even with a couple of cups of coffee I was still a bit of a zombie that early in the morning.
On Wednesday, there was an interesting environmental change for this SoCal guy, it began to snow at noon and that evening everything had a light blanket of new, clear snow. Graphic and beautiful! After dinner I noted that the back of the parking lot had a line of brush and trees illuminated by towering parking lot lights. So being intrigued by what lay in front of me I investigated with the camera phone sans tripod. The resulting low resolution images were a fun exercise and made the time fly delightfully by. The image above and on the very bottom are monochromatic and not processed as black and white, while the first image below was converted to black and white as there were some color cast from the parking lights that I found disturbing.
With close scrutiny of the image at the bottom it is evident that this is not as sharp as the other two images, but these are the best of this bunch. I made a number of extra exposures and I was a tad bit cold, thus anticipated that I was not the most steady guy taking these longer exposure pictures.
Next time the tripod goes in the car!