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.
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
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?
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.
Night Light copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale
On our first evening in Denver last week there were some remnants of snow still on the ground, which I found intriguing. I started playing with some cast light patterns created by a residential nightlight (these were solar powered units; the light was not that strong and had an interesting color cast associated with it). My first experiments resulted in the photograph below and later that night I returned to capture the image above, which became a bit more abstract.
Both are singular images as I don’t anticipate any particular photographic project coming from this, but one of these photographs might be used for something later on. Who knows. This is just part of my current practice of experimental-play with the camera-phone, who knows what free-association ideas this process might generate, while still being fun to do.
Golden, Colorado 2016 Copyright Douglas Stockdale
Road Trip! For Thanksgiving we motored from SoCal up I-15 and then over I-70 to Denver to meet up with family for Thanksgiving. Denver was not the final stop, but we did take time to meet-up with some of our family and a couple of side-trips before heading down to Santa Fe for where we were going to make our Thanksgiving meal.
On the first afternoon we took a brief drive up to Golden, the home of Coors, but also an old mining town (actually there first before the brewery). I am still being seduced by beauty, thus this river landscape in conjunction with a back-lite setting sun caught my attention while walking over the bridge into town. I do not mind the little bit of the urban presence on the one side of the river, as this was not meant to be unrealistic nature.
A very nice memory to start this holiday weekend.
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.
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.
Fall, Park City, Utah 2016 copyright all images Douglas Stockdale
A couple of weeks ago we did a road-trip from SoCal up to Park City, Utah for a few days to check the area out as I had heard there were a few really nice restaurants in the area. We also knew that this was not the high-season for skiing (less maddening crowds) but it could be interesting opportunity for finding some Fall color. As you can see from this post, we did find some interesting landscapes, but since we missed the real high-color by two weeks, it took a little extra work in driving up into the mountain roads and then care in framing the images to create these.
What can I say, I am still a sucker for a lyrical landscape image after all of these years. Actually the best part was the winding drives up the narrow roads searching for great locations, then the subsequent walks. Yes, the mountain air was wonderful as well.
This was a relaxing family trip as I consider these snapshots of memories and I have no inclination towards exhibitions these images other than sharing on social media. nice.
Now back to scanning negative and actually moving the photographic career forward, so more about some really interesting updates on that soon.
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.
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.