Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 8, 2015

Somewhere over Oz

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:57 pm


Untitled (Michigan, September 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

I was surprised at the end of my photographic tweaking as to how this photograph is pulling me in. To be honest, it was one of series of grab shots that I made on approach while landing at Detroit Metro airport. Having made this landing recently, I was getting prepared to photograph some industrial buildings that I knew were going to pop into sight shortly. So I was making some test exposures to make sure that I was not picking up any unwanted window reflections, so I quickly captured this and a couple other images to frame my final compositions. But then this image started to intrigue me, so I spent a little more time tweaking it. Surprise, a photograph that I am really enjoying.

I don’t usually make a lot of grand landscapes (which I consider this photograph to be in that category), but occasionally I will just to try different things. In some regards, I am suspecting that this photograph is a bit auto-biographical, as this small Midwest town or maybe even a village has some attributes of where I grew up, probably a three hour drive from this place. I am thinking of this photograph is capturing the essence of a “Midwest Anyplace”, a typical middle America town. A main drag coming into, through and then out of the town, which is lined with churches, storefronts and at least one gas station somewhere in the middle, with homes lining this street on both side at either end.

I just may trying to photograph something similar again on my next journey.


September 30, 2015

Snapseed grunge filter – its back!


Untitled (Evidence #Evidence 081940-02-01-01) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

One of my favorite photographic phone apps is Snapseed. Earlier this year I did one of my upgrades for the app, but then realized that the updated did not include the Grunge filter setting. Bummer. I enjoyed playing with the possibilities of this particular filter set as it allowed me to explore some options that were outside the box of “straight” photography. I could introduce some moodier effects that for me had possibilities to create interesting metaphors. Although sad that it was not updated, I pressed on. Just another bump in the road.

While investigating some Snapseed options for a couple of recent images that I realized that my little grunge filer was BACK! I have the phone set for this app to allow updates as available, thus I was not aware that a recent updated included bringing back this filter option. Nice.

I had been using the grunge filter extensively for my Memory Pod series to create some moody metaphors last year. Seeing that it was back, I had to pull up an image to see what little tweaks that had made to this filter set. Seems like it is almost identical to the previous, so not sure why it was not included with the earlier upgrade. Maybe they thought it was not that popular, so when I (and I hope some others) blogged about our disappointment with its disappearance, this may have got someone’s attention?

As to this image for my Evidence series, I had initially envisioned that like the popular TV series CSI, that I would use straight photographs that were similar to CSI evidence; literal, objective and appear like facts. The evidence would be laid out and the reader could complete their own investigation and draw their own conclusions. I have my own version of what the evidence points to.


March 18, 2015

Budding Memory Pods

Filed under: Memory pods, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:36 am


Untitled (budding memory pods) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

Earlier this week I had posted that I was finding myself being drawn back into my Memory Pods project. The photograph I posted was pretty close to a straight documentary image (which in retrospect is pretty boring at that). I was interested investigating the start of the whole memory pod evolution; the budding of the plant as the flower stems start rising above the plant.

Meanwhile, I have am also exploring some alternative ways to visualize this project, such as this photograph above, made the following day as the one in the earlier post. What a difference, eh?

I also found myself last year working these two visually different alternatives, “straight” and “interpretative” as I am just not sure where I will end up and maybe even have a mash-up of the two options. I will have to say, of the two images that I have recently posted, this is the one that has captured my interest. I tweaked the overall color slightly from a slightly greenish cast to incorporate more blue after posting this photograph earlier on Facebook.

Tonight I printed it to see what it looks like as an object on paper framed by a white four-ply white matte. Nice. Later this week I will be attending an annual print exchange meeting with some photo friends and I think that this will be my print that I will bring for the group.

For the reminder of the week, it will be sitting on my work table.


March 13, 2015

Budding Aloe Verde

120 03-13-15_Memory_Pods_3246_11x14_budding

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….


January 19, 2015

Picture Postcards


Untitled (MingXinPian #0984) copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is a long term and a slowly developing project that I have worked on intermittently these past years. For this photograph I am investigating a feeling about a state of decline or decay.

I recently had an opportunity to show this photographic print in conjunction with five similar photographs to a group of photographers. Of the five, this image seemed to evoke the strongest response consistent with my objective.


December 22, 2014

Elizabeth Avedon’s Best Photography Books for 2014 – and I am on it!


Pine Lake, copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

As a book artist and photobook specialist, this is the time of year that I provide kudo’s to all of the photographers, photobook designers, photobook publishers and the book artists who use photography as a part of their creative medium. This year I was asked by Manik Katyal, the Editor/Publisher of Emaho magazine to provide five photobook titles for the Emaho annual list of Best Photobook lists. So since getting my list down to just five, I needed to again published my own Interesting Photobooks of 2014 on my other blog, The Photobook.

What came as a very pleasant surprise is when the amazing NYC book designer Elizabeth Avedon (yes, a familiar last name to those following photography over the years) selected Pine Lake as one of her Best Photography Books of 2014. A total surprise as this is a very limited edition artist book (edition of 25 plus 2 A/P’s) and thus I am assuming not many have actually held or seen.

What a sweet ending to the year and which reminds me that I need to get my butte back into gear and finish my next limited edition book Bluewater Shore, the second of the three photo-narratives plan for this series.




November 14, 2014

Flow of Light Brush the Shadow – Snow Shovel


Untitled (Snow Shovel, JinShan, January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

I recently posting about finding one of my landscape photographs at the top of both Bing Images and Google Images. After letting the shock of recognition wear off, I went back to both with the same search term, contemporary landscape photography, and started scrolling down further.

Yikes, it did not take long for me to find another of my China photographs, above, to appear! I had blogged about my photo project Flow of Light Brush the Shadow in 2011 and this photograph was used to illustrate my progress on the project.

As to this photograph, the unusual snow fall had taken most of the local folks by surprise and like this man, few were really well equipped to handle the deepening snow. What I had not noticed at the time I made this environmental portrait was that the handle of the man’s shovel was actually made from a tree branch.

Up to this point in 2008, I had not attempted to include individuals in my urban landscape photographs, perhaps even going to some great lengths to exclude their presence. During this trip and since, I have made a determined effort to try to include people. This is one of my better attempts.

Meanwhile, another of my photographs that is bubbling up on the internet dog pile.


November 12, 2014

Contemporary Landscape Photography – JiaShan


Winter Field - JiaShan 01-23-08_2139_11x14_Douglas_Stockdale


Untitled (Winter Field, JiaShan, China January 2008) copyright Douglas Stockdale

You might image my surprise when I was poking around Bing images last week in-between events and I did a search on “Contemporary Landscape Photography” to see what might come up and the very first image was….mine!

Yep this photograph above that I created while in China in 2008. And to be sure that I was not hallucinating, I just did the same search again and yep, very first image was this one, again. Amazing.

I had posted this landscape photograph with a short discussion about what potentially makes a great Contemporary Landscape Photography in March 2008 shortly after my return from my third trip into Eastern China.

Trust me, I do not believe that I have created the definitive contemporary landscape photograph although I think that this is one of my better urban landscape photograhs made during these trips. As to why contemporary? Perhaps that the composition is very banal and ordinary in appearance and for me as the author, a bit more about my quiet introspective mood at the time, no real “subject” other than the frozen tracks in the field leading from the foreground towards the horizon. The furrow on the right also leads the reader to the horizon with a momentary break created by a lone, stark and barren tree. Thus the narrative is indirectly about a journey that has some melancholy undertones, probably a bit of how I was feeling going into my third week on this last visit.

This photograph may be getting such a primo spot on Bing is probably more about the power rankings of the internet. The more frequently seen, the higher up on the dog pile it goes. Nice to be on top of the dog pile!


October 24, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 5

089 Memory_Pods_1142_810BW_Ghost


Untitled (#89 Memory Pods) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 5 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC and my other BWC photographs, please check out my previous post, here. Today’s post also completes my 5 day BWC.

This photograph, as well as yesterday’s photograph, is part of an on-going investigation of mine that is exploring the use of seed pods as metaphors for memory and indirectly identity.

In this photograph I reflecting on what occurs after all of the seed pods are gone. For me this is a metaphoric portrait and the question as to who is a person who has no remaining memories? Perhaps they are now a ghost of their formal self, barely existing without any recall of the past experiences, only momentarily aware of the present moment, which too is another event that will shortly vanish.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 5 is Paul Mounce.

October 22, 2014

Black & White Photographic Challenge – Day 3



I-15 Frontage Rd, Victorville, CA 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This is my day 3 photograph as a result of being nominated by Jeff Alu to participate in a Black & White Photographic challenge (aka BWC) on FaceBook. For more background on the BWC, see my previous post, here.

Yesterday, I posted a photograph that I had made in early 2007 at a time that I felt that I was in a state of transition. At this time I was becoming aware of the concepts of contemporary landscape photography and my interests were now to investigate the natural landscape with regard to metaphoric narratives. This photograph above was made as a result of that creative transition after I expanded my investigation to include the urban landscape.

In very early 2007 I initiated my first contemporary landscape project, In Passing (B&W version) to investigate memory, in this case I began photographing the impromptu memorials created by family and friends for someone who had passed as a result of a tragic accident. Initially I was using a documentary approach to capture these memorials as examples of folk art. As the project continued, I realized that I was in fact investigating the concept of memory and how these families and friends were attempting to preserve their own memories by building these testimonials. Much later, I was to see these memorials as a possible metaphors for those individuals who have deminita or Alzheimer’s disease; physically present, but due to their fading memories, only a living shell and a living reminder of the past.

I found this memorial off the I-15 freeway, an apparent accident that had occurred on the Frontage Road. From the wording on the hand-made plaque that was in the foreground of the bouquet of artificial flower’s, I suspect that this was built by the young man’s family as the wording was by his mother. Over the months I came to understand that the cross was decorated for each season, this one for Halloween. The monument resembled someone in a Halloween costume, maybe his costume as a youth, and nestled within the artificial flowers was a trick-or-treat basket filled with candy. Extremely touching.

My attempt was to place this memorial within the larger landscape and also explored (below) an even wider perspective and narrative about this seemingly barren and poignant place.

Subsequently this image was published in LensWork magazine, issue #74, January/February 2008, one of 22 photographs as a featured portfolio. This was a pretty awesome artistic validation! I subsequently self-published a large format photobook of In Pasing thru Blurb in a small edition (about 13 copies),which is now out of print.

The B&W photographer that I nominated for day 3 is Vicki Topaz.


10-14-07 I-15 frontage Rd Victorville_0847bw

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