Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 18, 2018

Evidence tape at Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:39 pm

10-10-18_Suspecious_Circumstance_boundary_084512-03

study, Mystery on Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the aspects of this Mystery that I am exploring are the various alternatives to utilize in how I narrate this story. In one respect, this photograph is also a mash-up of the real and my imagination that results in something that might described as surreal.

The image above is a case in point; I had been contemplating the use of some “crime” tape in conjunction with some of the suspicious circumstances I had found earlier. I did one set of visual studies using a measuring tape to simulate the collection of evidence, but those images are still in evaluation.

Meanwhile during one of my daily walks I came across a small construction site that somebody had used some Caution tape to mark off part of the area. In the process they had utilized one of the adjacent trees as part of their boundary. The randomness of how it was wrapped around the tree appeared to resemble something abstract. One aspect that appealed to me is that it did not look as though I needed to make any modifications to the way the tape was used or how it was lying on the tree. Nice! Initially when I saw this arrangement the sky was still overcast, but on the return trip there was some breaking light that provided an interesting highlights within the composition, which is the image above. Extra Nice!

I quickly made a series of photographs intending to immediately come back with another camera to take advantage of this man-made urban still-life, but life intervened. It was a couple of days before I could return. The site was similar in appearance but not quite the same. Nevertheless, I could now visualize how this element might be something I include in my investigation.

When the new ink arrives for my printer next Monday, this will one of the images I want to print at 16 x 20″ to see how it holds up. This appears that it has some interesting potential. Meanwhile, I will be looking for a roll of yellow tape and it might be interesting to see what’s available on the web.

Cheers!

October 17, 2018

Landscape of Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:37 pm

09-22-18_KI6A9327-02-01_1000px

Untitled, Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

From time to time I am going to feature the evolving landscape of Trabuco Flats as I develop this book project. For most of my landscape photographs I pay close attention to any horizon lines as it seems that my photographs have a tendency to dip down just a tiny bit on the left side. I have been photographing like this for years, even when I know I might do it and try to pay close attention to the composition in the view-finder. It happens.

So when you see a slightly tipsy image like this you can bet I was trying to photograph a road that is meandering up a hill, which is indeed the case. I think the dirt road does provide sufficient visual clues in addition to the downward slope of the hill. FYI, I have always been uncomfortable with these kinds of photos which could imply that I did not get the composition right. This time I am feeling pretty good about this image.

I also notice that my broader landscape images like this one seem to do better on my social media like Instagram and Facebook that some of my tighter studies, such as my nasty Sacred datura flower that I just posted on here. Which could mean that the folks who follow me really enjoy my landscapes much better than the other stuff, or perhaps my other stuff just sucks.

Epson 4800 printer update:

For those who also have been following my Epson 4800 printer issue, it appears that I may have solved the printing issue due in large part to my friends at the Photo Exchange and Barry, a technical printer sales guy at Samy’s Camera in Santa Ana. Appears that the printing issue appears to be related to some declining paper suction that was not holding the printing paper near the print head nozzles at the end of the printing process. The paper was too heavy for the suction to hold the paper in place, thus falling away from the print head. Since the 4800 does not have an adjustment to increase the suction (one can decrease the suction), the fix was a slight delay in the Paper Feed Adjustment setting. The following two prints after making this adjustment unloaded a bunch of old ink crap on my prints, but subsequently the entire image was printed. Amazing what might accumulate over 13 years!

Equally nice is that I have a working fine art printer again, as my budget was very limited for the next few months to purchase a replacement printer. Yea!

While getting the printer working again, I also ran out of the Light Black ink. Oh well, but once the replacement ink arrives, I am back in the art business again.

Cheers!

 

 

October 15, 2018

Mystery on Trabuco Flats – Sacred datura – a dangerous flower & plant

10-03-18_Sacred_datura _KI6A9775-01-02_1000px

Sacred datura, Mystery on Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For my project Mystery on Trabuco Flats, as well as another project Gardening for Ordnance, I have been photographing a local wild weed that blooms during the summer. The small vine-like bushes with their white flowers make for an interesting visual contrast in the wild park area; a bit of local beauty among the other not so pretty weeds and wild grass. I had assumed that this was another of the many none native plants that arrived in conjunction with the local urban sprawl.

For the Mystery on Trabuco Flats project I thought that this white flower appeared quite similar to a white Lilly that is sometime found in conjunction with funerals. Thus these flowers might create another metaphoric layer to this project, especially if the flower(s) was not in perfect condition but bug eaten, decaying and falling apart.

When a friend asked me if it was the Scared datura that I was photographing I did a quick check (as you might guess, I am NOT a botanist) to confirm that it indeed was the Scared datura (species: Datura wrighti) I was photographing. The morbid surprise was to find out that this is a poisonous perennial plant and ornamental flower native to the southwestern North America. Yikes!

Serendipitously I have been actually photographing something quite dangerous. This plant does not yell Danger, Danger! (Unlike the rattlesnake a few weeks ago). So this potential metaphoric flower appears to have more of a darker potential than I had ever envisioned. Very pretty, but also deadly. cool!

I suspect that photographs of this flower will also be a pretty subtle inclusion in my story, as I am assuming that very few are aware of the danger that this flower and plant present (as I understand, not to be eaten, not even a tiny little bit). Especially when I consider that I had no idea of its exsistance; never hearing of this flower and plant before. Which is unlike the various warnings for poison oak, the close relative to poison ivy, which is common to this southwestern region as well. In retrospect poison oak will make a bad intensely itchy rash, but I don’t think it will kill you. sigh.

At one point I thought that these strange flowers were actually too pretty for my dark story, but now very happy I persisted in this visual investigation. You never can tell what strange twists just might occur. wonderful!

And I was thinking that I might pick a few of these flowers to place into or adjacent to some of my suspicious sites. Yikes!! Now very happy I did not touch these flowers or plants.

So for my visual narrative will these flowers be potential clues to solve the mystery?

Cheers!

Doug

 

October 10, 2018

Mystery on Trabuco Flats – modifying the project name

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:40 pm

09-23-18_KI6A9487-03_1000px

Mystery on Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past week I have slightly modified my current project name that I have in progress, from Mystery on the Plano Trabuco to Mystery on Trabuco Flats. Okay, so why?

Primary reason is that for my work of fiction I had been using the name of an actual place, Plano Trabuco; perhaps a road and school, but it’s known as someplace specific.  Not so good for my creative intentions.

So after a little research finding out that the the Spanish word “Plano” translates into the English word “Flat”, then making this plural, I was unable to find any place named Trabuco Flats. In fact I think it would make a nice name for either a bar or an interesting little eatery. hmmm.

So there there you have it. My fictional place for my (almost) fictional project, similar to my previous artist books Pine Lake and Bluewater Shore. nice.

Last weekend I did have a chance to show a few friends at Photo Independent my early stage book dummy for this project and I received some really great responses to both my mysterious images and my book concept. Likewise Chris Davies, the Director of my gallery, Fabrik Projects, came by and was extremely interested in this project and potential book concept. I always like it when folks from a gallery start wanting to know how soon this project will be finished. So overall some nice feedback, which keeps one’s energy up.

As to the image above; this may be a clue or it might be some evidence as to solving the mystery.

Cheers!

October 5, 2018

Photo Independent 2018 exhibitor

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Memory pods, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:15 am

douglas_stockdale-loss_ifac_honorable_mention

Loss, Memory Pods, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Truly an interesting weekend and now the following week as I just found out that I have an opportunity to exhibit at this weekend’s Photo Independent 2018 being held in Los Angeles. I will be sharing some exhibition space with my book printer, Dual Graphics, thus my stronger emphasis on my artist books that I will have for sale; there are still a few editions of Bluewater Shore left, as well editions of Middle Ground and copies of my Guide to Self-publishing an Artist Book.

Yikes, still less than seven days notice; so I have to say there is some value in having some of my art already framed. There are some limitations on size and where/how to hang, so I quickly determined that I have four pieces (including the photo above that was awarded Honorable Mention at the IFAC 2016 All Media exhibition), that will work within the confines of this exhibition space in conjunction with my artist book sales.

Printer update; appears that my old Epson printer had a slight bit of temporary coherence, but then lapsed back into its printing coma. sigh. So evaluating alternatives and will there will be a bunch of printer discussions with friends at Photo Independent. I know that I would really love to have a 42″ wide printer, but there is absolutely no studio space for this size printing monster and since I am not selling this size prints yet, a nice dream. Perhaps more realistic is an upgrade to a 24″ wide and I can move some things around; it should be a tight fit, but do-able.

One thing I have come to understand for my book projects; I need a smaller printer to make test prints for the book dummy, etc, thus also looking at a 13″ printer since the 24″ wide printers have issues handling/printing paper smaller than 8-1/2 x 11″.

Last, with all of the past nozzle clogging issues of the legion of Epson printers that I have had, giving very serious consideration for a Canon printer.

Okay, still some things to do to prepare for this weekend.

If you are attending Photo Independent, look for me walking the isles or hanging out at the Dual Graphics/Douglas Stockdale exhibition booth.

Cheers!

September 26, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – Buzzards circling

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:59 pm

09-22-18_buzzards_095938-01_1000dpi

Buzzards, Mystery on the Plano Trabuco 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In the Southwest the sight of circling buzzards is not a good omen as it foretells of something that might be dying or perhaps already passed on to its afterlife. I realized that an image of circling buzzards would make a great image for my Mystery on the Plano Trabuco as representative of something dark and forbidding, so I have been on the lookout for such an aerial event.

Although the image above is in line with my visual quest, the subject of this post is about something else that appears to be on the ropes and might be dying; my Epson Pro 4800 printer. Perhaps interesting that the day I sighted and photographed this circling group of buzzards when I returned to my studio, my Epson 4800 started going sideways. First it locked up with a Service code in which the printer appeared to be demanding some respect that was related to a “memory” issue; the net discussion with the Epson technical services folks over a three hour span.

Next the trailing half inch of the prints were printing incomplete; with both banding and then the printing ceased part way on the image at the back edge of the paper as it comes off the printer. The recommendation from the Epson tech was to turn off the fast print option, but regretfully it was not even on. This print issue was occurring whether the print was small at 8 x 7 on 8-1/2 x 11″ paper or a 16 x 20″ image on a 17 x 22″ sheet. sigh.

In one sense, I will have to admit that this printer has been pretty decent for the past 13 years IF I rule out the constant ink plugging and need to go through countless head cleaning cycles. Which has soured me a bit on an Epson replacement. I have had a bunch of folks state that the new Epson’s do not have this issue any more, but there are a few others that state that it just occurs a lot less often. 13 years ago Canon was seriously getting into the printer game and it now appears that Canon has a great set of printers and many of my friends have made the switch.  So Canon is now on my radar. If I made the recent switch from PC to iMac, perhaps I could make the change from 20+ years of Epson to Canon.

Meanwhile, back in the studio I have taken the advice of some Facebook friends to use a power vacuum to clean the beast’s internal workings and then I ran the print alignment diagnostic again. Good News! This combination has seemed to do the trick to fix the printing issue; no banding or print fall off on the 8-1/2 x 11″ paper, so next is to tempt fate and print a large image at 16 x 20″ on a full sheet of 17 x 22″. So for the short term it appears that the printer is working but I still have big time concerns. I know that I have a little bit of time to do my homework on it’s replacement, but the clock is ticking. Tick. Tock.

Maybe even time to consider a 24″ wide big brother printer.

This is pretty much like when I was a kid driving an old clunker car and never knowing when the wheels might fall off. So pretty sure I am now on borrowed time, because as I look up, the buzzards are still circling my studio.

Cheers,

Doug

 

September 21, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – initial feedback

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:23 pm

08-13-18 G4O_080837-01-02_Ca_Buckwheat_no2_72x1000

Untitled, Mystery on the Plano Trabuco, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the nice aspects of belonging to a small photographic group that meets monthly is the opportunity to show recent work in order to obtain some feedback. Which is what I did last night with a mini-exhibit of five 16 x 20″ prints from my new project Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. Top line: very encouraging!

Having only started to develop the photographs for this project within the last couple of weeks, I have been using a couple of different options to create my mysterious images.  Thus I wanted to see what these photographs might look like in a mini-exhibition format and to get some reaction to the project and work.

One update from the previous post is that I made a series of book dummy’s to evaluate how the images might work in this book design concept and it appears to me that I need to lean into a horizontal book design. To that end, all five images I exhibited, including the photograph above, were in a horizontal format.

It was interesting to me to be able to have these photographs under the exhibition lights and step back to visually assess the impact for myself in conjunction with the groups comments. I try to listen to the overall evaluation and not necessarily on the merits of the individual photograph at this stage of a project development. Perhaps unlike a MFA critique, the folks do not drill down on the pros and cons of each image in the context of my artistic intent, but if I listen carefully I can obtain an overall sense if the images are getting the emotional traction I am trying to establish. Which I think I did, as there were comments as to the mysterious nature of the images, the underlying emotional darkness and how some of the images gave folks the “creeps”. Nice.

Unlike some presidential folks in the WH, I will admit that there were photographs that both direct hits and other images that did not connect as well, if at all. The image above did resonate with the group as it was frequently singled out for comments. So two of the five photographs that did not work for them (or me in this context), one of which looked really awful, and for these two, I am going back to the drawing board; I will start over in how I manipulate these two image files.

In addition everyone was very pretty positive about this project and the manner I was choosing to develop the images. That or perhaps they are getting used to the wild and crazy book/project ideas I continue to bring to these group critiques. They also offered some great comments as to how the overall body of worked together, or how certain images did or did not look consistent or not in sync with my concept. And of course a few questions were made in an attempt to try to solve the Mystery. Wonderful feedback and a fun discussion.

I highly recommend that you find a small group of creative artist that you can share your work with and expect some candor in their evaluations and comments. I have found that this is a really nice reality check while developing a project or body of work.

So I guess that’s five steps forward and two steps back. Which is just fine for me! I consider this a really nice start for this project.

Cheers!

Doug

P.S. At the moment the photographs are sized at 16 x 20″ on 17 x 22″ paper and one of the members of this group, Marc Plouffe, provides professional printing services, so we are going to collaborate on how some of these images might look up-sized. First step is to evaluate a 22 x 28″ image printed on 24 x 30″ paper. So no statement as to sizes, editions and pricing of the project photographs at this time, but hopefully figure this out soon.

September 17, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – rough edit in progress

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:28 pm

09-08-18 081000-01-03_72_1000_

California Buckwheat, Plano Trabuco, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Have I ever stated that developing a new photobook is a messy process? I am sure I have, because it is.

I am still in the beginning states of this my new project Mystery on the Plano Trabuco, having just finishing the initial rough edit of the images (about 140 images culled out), while still doing some investigative work on the book design I have pre-visualized and concurrently developing my artist statement that I would hope elegantly describes my artistic intent.

My first rough edit is to select which images I think support my book’s intent and these have not had any image adjustments made yet. Now I have start the second phase of the rough edit by tweaking each if these photographs as to contrast, tonality, and image content by adding adjustment layers and image cropping. At this point I also am starting my printing process; smaller prints on 8-1/2 x 11″ for the book layout and sequencing and from lessons learned, also printing a 16 x 20″ image on a 17 x22″ sheet.

A case in point, for the image above, California Buckwheat, the image I posted on IG is brighter and reveals a lot of details in the shadows. After evaluating the initial printing, the image seemed too high key for my narrative, thus I added an adjustment layer and reduced the contrast and darkened the shadows to create what I think is a much moodier and somber appearing photograph that might be more in line with a mystery. Okay, maybe I am trying to create a mysterious photograph as well.

What I also check at this stage is the image layouts of the rough edit, which is surprising to me; as the 6:4 ratio of horizontal images to vertical images (square images are a much smaller minority and can work with all most any book layout). In past projects, I have created 80% or more horizontal images, such as Ciociaria and 100% horizontal for Middle Ground. I guess I was expecting a greater amount of horizontal images in how I was pre-visualizing the book design.

My advice in my workshops is to “listen” to your photographs as to what format your photobook might look like as to it’s layout. So this ratio of horizontal to vertical images invites maybe three book dummy layout options; a horizontal, a vertical and a square design to test these images. If I had 80% + horizontal or vertical photographs, then this might be more of a no-brainer. Another factor is a design element I have pre-visualized for this project that might lean into the layout and may also create the need to re-photograph some of the things I have found. Fun, fun, fun!

Cheers

Doug

September 12, 2018

Introduction to PhotoBook Design – October LACP workshop

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Photobook, Workshops — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:36 pm

Introduction to Photo Book Design with Douglas Stockdale (Two sessions)

Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop

Los Angeles Center for Photography

Next month, October 7th and 14th, I will be repeating my popular two-day workshop in conjunction with the Los Angeles Center for Photograph (LACP). This workshop focuses on the fundamental development of a book; understanding the artists intent and how that then translates into a book object in the editing, sequencing and layout of the book supported by the book’s design attributes.

The two-day goal of the workshop is for each person to leave with a first rough draft of their book dummy of their personal photographic project. I will provide both creative and practical book design options and project critiques to help those attending to move their book publication forward.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first morning will be spent understanding each artist/photographers publishing objectives. Subsequently I will include discussions on the elements of book design, essence of project editing, image editing and sequencing, the purpose of a physical book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine.

The second session delves further into the book dummy development and includes discussions about the business elements of (self/indie) publishing a book, critical book production elements and making a publisher submission. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project as well as some one-on-one time with each participant.

The feedback I have received over the years is this workshop has been critical to many artist and photographers for their publishing success; helping provide clarity on their project and providing creative book design options. So whether you are developing your very first book or your book project is one of many, I think you will find our time together to be really inspiring.

I hope you can join me for this fun and yet intensive workshop.

This workshop is being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

 

September 10, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – new project

Filed under: Art, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:23 pm

09-08-17_083013-01-02_8x10

Suspicious circumstances, site #5, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Okay, this has been a crazy two weeks. Which has provided me with an unexpected new project with the working title of Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. So how in the heck did this all happen?

With the publication of my recent limited edition artist book, Middle Ground, I was at a bit of a cross roads as to which of the other two projects that I already had in the works to take forward. For my Memory Pods project, the plant cycle was finished for this year, so I was not concerned about creating more photographs for that project. Tara Wray had expressed an interest in this body of work for her TooTired project, so I had begun to edit Memory Pods body of work as I have not spent much time due to the publication of Middle Ground.

Meanwhile, I planned to continue poking around the local area with my cameras for the Gardening for Ordnance project. Accumulating and expanding on that project’s body of work. While poking around in the local park, I came across something that in retrospect the O.C. Sheriff’s office calls “suspicious circumstances”, but when I met with a bunch of the Sheriff officers to inspect what I found (first reported here); they stated that it looked like an old, collapsed shallow grave. Good grief! Since I was not a photo-journalist, my initial thoughts were to make some quick survey photographs and then move on.

At this same time I was writing a review of Julia Borissova’s limited edition book for The PhotoBook Journal and recalled her earlier limited edition book Dimitry, about mysterious circumstances surrounding her Russian subject and subsequent stories. hmmmm, inspiration hit; why not create something similar about what I had recently found? It was a brand new mystery to be investigated!

When I returned to check out what the Sheriff’s office did to close their case at this site and take some additional photographs, I then found another SIX sites similar to the first. Yikes! So I reported this event last weekend, here. Since then, I have completed some research about cadaver dogs that were used to sniff out the area; apparently these skilled dogs can find human burial sites that are really, really old, perhaps 200 years old. So appears that these might not be human burial graves as the reason for digging these mysterious sites. Actually that’s a bit of relief.

Nevertheless, still very much a mystery. And now I have a new project. So next to start working on an artist statement, pre-visualiztion of the new artist book design, back to take more photographs and tweaking the resulting images. I am currently posting some potential images on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) under this project name.

Cheers!

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.