Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 1, 2018

Book workshop with Medium Festival of Photography

Stockdale_Guide_book-dummy_2017_lowres_72bit

Guide book dummy, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very excited to announce that I will be providing my Photo Book Design Workshop in conjunction with the Medium Festival of Photography next March 16 and 17th, 2019. This two day workshop will take place in San Diego at the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club. A great location to be in March.

You can register now at: https://www.mediumsandiego.org/developing-a-creative-photo-book/

This two-day Workshop is an opportunity for artists and photographers currently working on or planning to start a project that will result in a book publication. Whether you plan to make book submissions to a publisher or self-publish your artist book, this workshop is meant to help you create a book that meets your vision.

The goal of this workshop is to discuss each photographer’s vision, mission and objectives for the publication of a photographic project and then to gain an understanding of how these conceptual aspects translate into a book object. Fundamental to the book development process is learning aspects of the editing, sequencing of the body of photographs and in the context of a book design to shape and narrate a story. The purpose of this workshop is to provide photographers with the building blocks to move from a complex unorganized mass of images into a refined edit and subsequently sequence to create a pre-visualization of their book concept.

I hope you can join me for a fun and intense two days learning the basics of book development and how this will help you move your project forward. Likewise, the editing and sequencing methodology you will learn is equally applicable to creating a strong review portfolio or organizing a gallery submission.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers!

 

October 27, 2018

The path to Trabuco Flats

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:03 am

10-03-18_KI6A9730-02

Untitled, Trabuco Flats 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Although I am spending more time with working on “straight” photographs for my Trabuco Flats project I continue to experimental/play with some of the images. Not entirely giving up on how I might incorporate some of these abstract images into this project, but exactly how I do it is not something that I need to decide today.

The earlier feedback I received about these images related to a more purist issue with the non-traditional sky, something pretty evident in the photograph of this post. My take is rather than consider this landscape image from an emotional viewpoint, that all of the various marks and lines in the sky as representing angst and discord, the viewers were reacting from a traditional viewpoint that this did not look like a classic landscape. I will admit that this landscape image is non-traditional.

Thus as an experiment, I made some modification to the landscape that I subsequently published a few days ago, here. I modified the sky by cleaning up some of the radical marks and lines, still an overall abstract landscape, perhaps with what one would call the sky’s tonality was more homogenized and perhaps leaning into appealing like something more traditional.

All of the feedback is fine and interesting to consider. Nevertheless, what do I think of these potential changes to my images? As an artist I am creating somewhat radical landscape photographs that does not meet the norms. So the question is; do the changes being suggested improve my photographs or do the changes being suggested attempt to make my photographs conform to their expectations of what is acceptable?

I suspect that part of this conservative image advice is due to my audience; they do not experiment with images that often and for the most part chase the modernist landscapes imagery of Ansel Adams. I have shown some of this work to a group of abstract painters/artist, and they encouraged me to push the effects I am using even further. Such as bury the photographs I made for a couple of weeks out in the field and see what results.

And yes, I am also sensitive and aware of the comments that I need to be sure that I am not leaning on some image app trickery as a crutch to making “good” images.

So more experimentation as I play with my options.

Cheers!

October 25, 2018

Trabuco Flats – noir landscape – take two

09-22-18_approach_KI6A9327_bw

Untitled, Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While working on my project Trabuco Flats, I have been doing a lot of experimenting with how I process the image. Such as this landscape photograph above, I posted an earlier color version that I had really tweaked the contents. In my last post on this project, I had also posted a black & white photograph that I had really played around with in an attempt to push the boundaries of what might be possible while still keeping within the scope of this project as I had conceptualized.

The underlying reason for this prior experimental/play series of images was a take on the idea that a mysterious narrative might work best with mysterious photographs. And I could modify the crap out of the image to make these appear really, really strange. All the while I did realize that even straight photographs, such as this one, could have some surreal qualities without any visual manipulations.

So it feels to me that I have successfully pushed my aesthetic boundaries for this project and perhaps time to pull back. Not that I could push the boundaries even farther, as I have just began to experiment with these photographs if you look at some of the wild artist projects of others such as incorporating multiple images, collage, painting the image, sanding the surface to name but a few. One could really, really destroy the basic concepts of what constitues a photograph.

To question what is a photograph is really not my goal for this project. I am interested in creating a mysterious narrative and just coming around to accepting the fact that I do not need to add anything to a photograph to make it more mysterious and surreal than it already is. That said, one aspect I think I still need to evaluate is whether the narrative works better with black & white images or color images, or maybe even a mash-up of the two.

As to this image; it is a landscape, inclusive of a dirt road that meanders up a small hill, with what appears as some structures hiding at the edges, while being ambiguous as to where it located exactly, (urban or rural, southwest America or midwest America) why is it there (what purpose does it serve) and who might use it? Are the long shadows foretelling of something ominous as these slightly overlap this road? Thus I think that this photograph, as it is, could create a slight sense of mystery. nice.

Fun stuff!

Cheers

 

October 22, 2018

Trabuco Flats – mystery noir?

10-03-18_site9_KI6A9704-03_1000px

Mysterious Circumstance site 9, Trabuco Flats, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Another aspect of experimental/play with my Trabuco Flats project is creating a pure black and white version, that would of course be my noir (dark) version. Why not? Or maybe a slight color tint to a black & white?

So this long weekend while attending the John Divola presentation at the Medium Festival in San Diego, in between events I was experimenting with a black & white conversion of some of my earlier images. I am not sure how, or even IF, these black & white images will work within this project, but one of the fun aspects of my development process is to allow myself to play with these images.

There is no getting around that these are darker images, both literally and symbolically. Perhaps a bit moodier than my color versions while not any less surreal. I will admit that I have really been fighting with myself in going full black and white on this project, as I was fully expecting to stay in a full color mode. Even as I write this, I have another idea to try out, above, so it should be interesting to see what results as I further play around.

I just need to be careful that I don’t spend so much time playing around that I don’t actually complete this project. One aspect that should get me back on track is having my medium size printer working again. As I mentioned earlier, I had not realized how important a really good printer is to me and my artistic process. I also have a lead on a slightly newer version of this Epson printer, so that might be a slight change over the next month or so.

Meanwhile I want to develop and print a small portfolio of five of these black & white images at 16 x 20″ to evaluate. Then probably set these prints aside to study while working on other aspects of this project.

A new wrinkle is that I have started writing an outline (storyboard) to create a short story about this project. Sort of a concurrent process and maybe my finial visual project will be determined by my written narrative (or my narrative will follow my visual version). Interesting that I needed to quickly sketch out the entire storyboard in oder to figure out how to flesh out the details of my narrative, another kind of pre-visualization; where was my story line going??

Cheers!

Note: I updated this cover image later in the day for two reasons; first, somehow I screwed up saving the initial image and I was unable to rescue it, so I had to start over from scratch. Second, I was then able to incorporate my idea to include the original color image as a base image to create a slight color tint to the black & white image. I think it’s pretty subtle, so I need to study this effect for a little bit. Perhaps a bit of the best of both worlds.

October 19, 2018

More feedback on Trabuco Flats project

Filed under: Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:49 pm

09-23-18_KI6A9546-01-02_12x15

Landscape study, Trabuco Flats, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Last night I received a little more feedback that was a bit varied from my earlier showing, also a slight change in the participants. Since my printer was down due to a lack of ink, the only image I had for discussion was the Trabuco Flats landscape that I posted earlier this week. Lot more of a mixed reaction, nevertheless positive and supportive of my project intent.

Going into these print reviews I already know that my Trabuco Flats landscape images are way, way outside the norm of most of these modern rural landscape photographers. Nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to obtain a sense as to how these images read. There are also a few who do experiment with their image content.

I have modified this image above slightly to see how it might look taking some of their comments into consideration. I think that they would prefer a very straight image, but at the moment, I am still into my experiment/play mode for this project.

I also understand that modifying the images as I have is also outside most of the greater photographic “norm”. So always a risk that that these will not be well accepted, but at this point, I still want to investigate these images in the spirit of experimental/play.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers,

Doug

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 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!

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

May 4, 2018

Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra – Trial Proof

05-02-18_book-binding_142332-Middle_Ground

Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra book binding 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

After spending the morning at Dual Graphics looking at the hard proofs earlier this week, I returned with three interior sets to develop a couple of Trial Proofs (T/P) of the assembled artist book.  FYI, the T/P is a version that is made during the developmental stage but which the printing is not right yet, a term from the printmaking practice when a plate is inked and then proofed to see if the resulting image is acceptable. When the resulting image is acceptable and ready to print, this would be an Artist Proof (A/P).

This also gave me an opportunity to practice my gluing technique so that I did not totally screw up the appearance of a book. One take away; this is going to be a slow process. The second? This might also be the last leporello artist book I assemble! It’s going to really look awesome, but what a pain to get everything just right. sigh.

Why it’s an artist book, as each one is going to have some unique differences.

We also decided to exhibit in the gallery my extended book dummy, all 21 feet, as a unique work of art. Then hang underneath the book dummy a finished edition book. This should look pretty cool. The team at the gallery are doing the final print and book hanging today. I dropped off prints and books yesterday, but the walls of the gallery were still being prepped for painting from the last exhibition.

Opening tomorrow: Fabrik Projects, 2636 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles

Exhibition: May 5th – June 2nd

Artist reception: Saturday, May 12th, 6 – 8pm

Artist book is still available for purchase from me.

Looking forward to seeing the exhibition!

Cheers,

Doug

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.