Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 26, 2018

Website Switch up to SquareSpace

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Trabuco Flats, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

For those who might have followed the link to my website these past few days probably had a bit of a visual surprise when you were greeted with a brand new home page. So while I was taking some time to evaluate how I wanted to proceed with my Trabuco Flats project, I decided it was also time to put into play something that had been bothering me for a while with PhotoShelter, the back-bone host for my domain name.

As an artist, I have a lot of photographs and art work to share and I must admit that PhotoShelter did a great job of making me look pretty good. Since I also create artist books and other publications to sell, PhotoShelter was not so hot. In fact they do not have an effective way to allow you to show the books, least help with sales. Even after I called their technical support, got the sorry story. Bummer.

It’s always been part of my game plan that I would work with small photobook stores to partner with in order to sell my books, thus I did not make the sales options for my web site as a very high priority until recently. In today’s artistbook and photobook market it seems that many, if not most, small bookstores get a constant deluge of new titles. Thus I realizing to effectively sell my books, I need to have the option(s) to be able to sell directly.

Thus I used the time to evaluate some alternative sites that might be able to host my domain name, have a great ability to show photographs and products (artist books) and the commerce infrastructure to take orders. I had evaluated SquareSpace when I made the earlier decision to go with PhotoShelter but the buzzzz seemed to point to recent changes in how SquareSpace could be developed (I am NOT a IS programmer! So it has to be pretty simple). It quickly appeared to me that SquareSpace was now a good potential to check all of my boxes.

One nice thing about SquareSpace that sucks you in is there FREE 15 day offer to develop your web site and see if it seems to work for you. Wow, what a difference in bringing all of my website parts together; easy. Perhaps even the Big Easy. Also an improvement in how they manage and subsequently display photographs and art work. Still a few quirks in how SquareSpace does things, but since I have been poking a lot of blog sites, etc for my social media, I assumed that certain things could be done; so it was just a bit of a learning curve on how to do it.

I decided on the option of having a landing page that would announce something in particular and then a big ENTER to make sure you know where to proceed. This allows me to keep the focus on an event, such as my up coming workshop with Medium Festival for Developing a Creative Book that will occur in San Diego next March 23 and 24th. I then can decide where within the website you will first subsequently land, which for now is my project Trabuco Flats. So far, so good.

Thus just before Thanksgiving my web site was pretty well designed on SquareSpace, so I decided to pull the trigger and transfers my domain name from PhotoShelter. I did not upgrade to the commerce capabilities yet as I still want to make sure that all of the things were in place and learn a little bit more about their formatting tools. I also want to poke some of the other sites on SquareSpace that use the selling tools to get some ideas of what I want to implement. Not that anybody was looking to buy my artist books for Cyber Monday!

Maybe I missed a big sales opportunity this year, but there is always next year while going slow and easy at my own pace keeps my stress levels down. I need to enjoy the day.

So I put enough hyper links in this post and if you have not taken the bait yet, then check it out now.

Cheers!

Doug

October 31, 2018

Artist stress

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 11:59 pm

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Buckwheat, Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As an artist, sometimes a little stress can be a good thing once in a while, but constant stress can be a killer, in more ways than one.

Recently I contributed a few photogaphs to Tara Wary’s Too Tired for Sunshine project on Instagram. I had reviewed her book of the same title for The PhotoBook Journal and during the process of writing the review and discussing the book and her project, I realized that my Memory Pods project might be of interest to Tara. My project is investigating the loss of memory as the loss of a person’s individuality, as in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease during that long memory loss process, the individual affected has sever boughs of depression.

In the process of working with Tara, I think I increased my own self awareness, such that recently when certain unplanned events occurred (computer and printer going sideways), I found myself getting tired, listless and unable to get artistically engaged. With that I also felt overwhelmed by little things, stuff that did not bother me before. I have realized that I was probably stressed out. That was a bit of surprise as I am aware of the effects of stress and do my best to avoid these kind of conditions.

The good news; stress is mostly self-induced. We do it to ourselves. Which means if you realize you are stressed out, you can also do something about it. You need to change some things. You are the right person to get rid of your own stress. It can be done.

Now I also know that in certain kinds of situations stress might be helpful to get the adrenalin pumping, such as a dangerous event suddenly occurring. I also know some artist who state that they thrive in stressful conditions and do their best work, such as under a must-do-deadline. I also note that these same artist become procrastinators in order to create stressful events, to get the adrenalin really pumping, then wonder why when something unplanned goes wrong and they do miss a deadline, why they should be held accountable. A problem that they created.

Now I am not a doctor, but I have come to understand that long term stress can have some pretty detrimental effects; as noted above regarding tiredness in conjunction with sleeplessness, anxiety, listlessness, unable to focus, get engaged or make decisions. Long term stress is also associate with heart disease and other cardiopulmonary disorders, e.g. high blood pressure. Not good and needs to be avoided.

I also know that being an artist can be a stressful as working career and perhaps a bit more for those who are self-employed and depend on the sale of their art to make a living. If you are not a celebrated photographer or painter with a constant high demand for your creative endeavors, you just don’t know when the next exhibition or print sale will occur.

And then when some trusted equipment suddenly breaks down or goes sideways that can be a set-back as I recently found out. A computer just completly stops working due to a mother-board failure after 10 years with a loss of some photographic files. Shortly thereafter a 13 year old wide-format printer has printing issues and locks up. Then find that that the new computer and old printer seem to have color-management issues; what you see is not what you get as a print. Close, but not close enough. All of these equipment and process things can be overcome with time and money, then what if you have the time but not the money? Then more time is then needed while the money is saved up meanwhile you have placed yourself under a project deadline of some sort or the other.

These are the kind of things that can create stress and honestly, these are the kinds of things related to life and living. Crap will happen and sometimes a lot of crap can happen. My issues are extremely mild compared to those whose homes were blown away by a hurricane, or burnt to a crisp in a fire-storm.

Thus one thing that I have recently learned to controlling stress; keep things in perspective. Current events might not be as bad as you think these are. Related to this: count your blessings. Give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished and still able to do. Don’t sell yourself short.

The corollary to the one just above; don’t compare yourself to others. Especially highly successful artist whom you think have everything that you want. They have their issues too, just different ones.

One thing I did regularly and then stopped for awhile, but I am back at again; make a daily to-do list of few things that need to get accomplished. It’s an old project management tool; focus on the meaningful few things and not get distracted by the multitude of time-wasting tasks (time on IG or Facebook). Prioritize the few things that need to be completed and then reward yourself with some of the (fun) time-wasting things like spending time on IG looking at everyone else’s photos. Completing the few things that are really needed provides a nice sense of accomplishment. This process provides me with creative focus and helps decision making, it essentially gets me back in gear and for me, almost entirely eliminates stress.

What I don’t complete on my to-do list today I then put on the top of tomorrow’s to-do list. I have found that this is also a secret to getting a good nights rest; I don’t find myself thinking about what-I-need-to-do-tomorrow in the middle of the night if I already acknowledge what I need to do tomorrow. Since I get things done on my to-do list, knowing its on tomorrow’s list provides confidence that I will get’r done.

Related to this; Focus on the things I (you) can control, not about the things I (you) can’t control. I can make a gallery submission, but I can’t control if the gallery likes my work or wants to exhibit or sell it. So I can focus on making a really good submission, which is what I can control.

Money; the all time stressor for most individuals and couples, not just artist. If you are like me, an artist that collectors are not beating down the doors to buy my prints, cash-flow can become an issue. So make sure that money does become a stress point; get a day -job or second job and budget what you’re spending so that you don’t go into debt. Case in point, when my old computer gave up the ghost, I took a small loan to purchase a 27″ iMac. But while I was still paying off the iMac, my 17″ printer started having issues. I was fortunate to find a temporary printer fix and now I’m living one day at a time for my printing needs until I pay off the iMac and save for a new printer. Not the ideal solution but one that works and I don’t stress out over it financially. This too will pass.

I think setting short, mid-term and long-term goals is helpful, but I understand much better now that if you don’t make some adjustments to those expectations when circumstances change, this can create some real stress. I think I knew this before, but when the recents events occurred with my computer and printer, I loss sight of the fact that my goals are just that, goals. Thus my goal to (self)/publish my project Trabuco Flats next Spring is not a terminal end point. Nothing hangs in the balance except for my expectations; thus when crap happens; time to change expectations. So maybe Trabuco Flats is published in 2020 instead. So what? Perhaps in the meantime I make some gallery submissions and get some other exposure for this project. That gives me time to sort out the printer color-management issues, perhaps upgrade the printer as well as more time to edit and sequence this body of work. No stress.

Last; get some exercise! Try to take an hour walk every other day; get out of the house, let the sun shine on you or go out and watch the leaves turn golden. Do something other than sit on your butt in front of this computer. So as you read this, then Stop! Stand up and walk to the apposite side of the house/studio for a short stroll and come back in 5 minutes.

Okay, now move on to your next thing.

Cheers!

April 28, 2018

New Gallery Representation: Fabrik Projects

Filed under: Art, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:42 pm

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Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra (book dummy) self-published 2018 Douglas Stockdale

I have a really wonderful announcement to make; I am honored to become a represented artist of Fabrik Projects!

First, I will have to admit that I had planned to post a different article today, but with this news, I think it takes priority. So I have already quickly updated my web site (duh!) and will be making a bunch of social media noise today about this. As to transparency, this is my first gallery representation. Nice!

So this is very cool and I am joining a bunch of talented artist, including Sarah Hadley, Tami Bahat, Martin Cox, Christopher Sheils, Cia Foreman, Glen Wexler, Andy Burgess and many others.

So now I am very excited to have added to my web site:

Douglas Stockdale is represented by
Fabrik Projects (Gallery), Los Angeles
2636 S. La Cienega Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.730.6074
Contact: gallery@fabrikprojects.com

I had planed to make another announcement about the availability of my self-published artist book now available for pre-order, so I will include this link to my pre-order posting. Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra is now planned for shipment to new homes in Germany, Hong Kong and of course here in the United States. Your pre-orders really do help me with this self-publishing event. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Reminder: my Fabrik Projects exhibition opens next Saturday, May 5th and runs through June 2nd, with the artist reception on Saturday, May 12th, 6-8pm. Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

January 11, 2018

Social Media updates for the New Year

Filed under: Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:06 pm

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Crystal Cove, bikes, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

For my 2018 New Years resolution as well as one of my goals for the year was to try to improve my social media presence. Specifically this goal is for my personal artist projects and I will be doing something similar to broaden the presence of The PhotoBook Journal.

To date, I joined Facebook about 2009, LinkedIn (for photograph) about 2012, started Instagram in 2015 and Twitter in 2017 (mostly some political commentary). Okay, so maybe for social media I am not the trend setter, but hey, I am an old dog still wanting to learn new tricks. For this year, I have just added Tumblr account.

In conjunction with the social media accounts, I am also going to try to add content a bit more frequently, which I hope might increase the number of followers. To be transparent, my self-serving reason is to help with my book sales and if I get my act together, maybe even some print sales.

Also appears that each of these social media channels have their pluses and minus, so here is what I will try to do with each;

Singular Images (this blog) this is where content appears to stay available for the longest duration and is a place that where content will be picked up on internet searches for years to come. So longer & information articles, such as this, will be posted here.

Facebook, here. These posts are fleeting, but where I have probably the largest number of followers and also share posts with LACP, SoCal PhotoExchange was well as various photobook groups.

Instagram (@douglasstockdale) Very photographic oriented site and fleeting posts, but seems ideal for publishing my singular images.

Tumblr (@douglasstockdale) New to me, a blog type layout, so I will have to see how this develops. Currently will post singular photographic images to determine what type of traction I get while learning the ropes. Never the less, what others have told me is that the content is not censored on this site, which probably means that Tumblr is more tolerant of nude studies than the others.

Twitter (@Doug_Stockdale) Will start posting singular photographic images to determine what type of traction I get while learning the ropes.

LinkedIn (@douglas-stockdale) I have not been overly impressed with this venue but I have also not been that active, so I will start posting more singular photographic images to determine what type of traction I get while learning the ropes related to photography. Also a site that I have the second most followers, but when I do post, I do not get that much response, but maybe related to a lack of posting.

So if these are venues you are already using, please invite or join me or what ever it is you are suppose to do to help me become part of the larger community.

Cheers!

Btw, after blogging for ten years on Singular Images, I think that this might be a relevant social media venue to maintain, so I have upgraded it to eliminate the pesky ads that clutter the posts. Now I need to sell a print (or two) to cover my investment, so let me know if there has been an image you have enjoyed and lets see if we can work out a deal.

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 is causing me to rethink how I might describe myself to others: artist or photographer? Okay another option might be artist/photographer. I am probably reconsidering this whole classification subject because of my preparation 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 my recently self-published 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.

They response that Bluewater Shore is an artist book, not a photographic book, since I am using vernacular photographs which I found to create my narrative 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 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 as my creative medium. 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.

This is a not a seismic shift of who/what I think I am; but what this does is to better prepare me for where/who I make submissions of my artwork. I still feel that I am part of the pure photographic community since that is the space I created both of my photo-investigations In Passing and Ciociaria. Nevertheless I will go across those pure photographic boundaries 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 appear to 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!

March 10, 2008

I am a Photographer

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:15 pm

Construction Gate

Just to say it again, I am a photographer. Oh right, I am a lot of things; husband, friend, dad, Papa, etc. But as to what I do to express myself, I have settled on being a photographer. For about 15 years I was a painter. Before that I was a photographer. So you are probably wondering what this is all about?

My insecurity, plain and simple.

Up to recently, my web gallery read ‘Douglas Stockdale, Fine Art Photographer’, but now I have deleted the “Fine Art” in front of the Photographer subtitle. Just ‘Photographer’.  When I came back to photography I had the same insecurity as many others, that is, if you are not sure that what you see (of my photographs) constitutes ‘art’, let me help you and reassure you that I am indeed an ‘artist’. Oh, by the way, painters are really no different, they are just as insecure as the rest of us (I am not a house painter, but a painter of houses), so don’t think that this is just a photo hang-up!

So why the change now? Part of this is getting comfortable in my own skin. Part is getting my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip published in LensWorklast month. The last part is reading David Vestal’s column in the March issue of Photo Techniques about Improper Nouns. And yes, it’s all about the use of the ‘fine art’ words. To summarize Vestal’s article if you have to actually tell someone you are a fine artist, what does that say about you and them??

Yes, if someone recognizes as what you have made as being something creative, they will. If they have to be told, well, I think you get the point.

As a photographer we are more dependent on our eyes, vision, thoughts and equipment. And now that equipment can be very simple: auto-this and auto-that.  Or we can make it terribly complex such as the large format cameras, film development techniques and Palladium printing folks.  (With all that difficult manipulation it just has to be artistic, eh?)

As a painter one had to have some manual dexterity, color selection, ability to draw a line and you worked from a very blank canvas. Seems a little more evident with as a painter that you are creative and really are an artist, eh? Nope, you can paint and it can still look like crap and be thoughtless and pedant. I have been to enough art shows to have seen this.

Not to try to argue the creative side of photography because thank goodness it is all too evident. I hope it’s the realization that what’s in your head that counts.  And then its about getting it expressed in a medium that works for me such as photography does for me.

It does not mean that I am any less insecure, but now, when asked, I am a photographer. Or perhaps a Landscape Photographer or maybe even a Urban Landscape Photographer. But a photographer;- )

Best regards, Doug

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