Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 11, 2016

Photobook post-exhibition assessment

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:14 am

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Photobook Independent, Raleigh Studios, Soundstage #14, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

At the beginning of this month I participated in a book exhibition at Photobook Independent, held in the Raleigh Studios on their sound stage #14, located in Hollywood, California. Always interesting to poke around a Hollywood studio after hours during the weekend and observe the infrastructure for the allusions we see on the small and large screen.

I had the largest table, 8 foot long, thus I had the opportunity to display both my published books as well as some 15 x 19″ work prints for my in-progress project. In retrospect, I did not need to have an artist statement for each book and project. Just a little too much in the way of hand-outs, although these were requested from time to time, I could have held these back under the table and provided them on request. Although I had business cards with my contact info, I would have been better served having one or two photo-cards with just my web site url and email. On my list for next time!

One really nice aspect of participating was the banter and discussions with those friends, like Susan Burnstine, who had a table near mine, as well as an opportunity to make some new friends and connections. I had been in trading emails with Sara Terry (below), but it was really nice to meet her in person and get some really sound advice for a couple of past and current projects. Even better when Sara really liked my artist book, Pine Lake, and we did a swap with her for recently published artist book. I had some really great discussions about my work with a few folks who stopped at my table as well, which provided some much needed feedback.

So I will be making some minor changes to my Memory Pods project while making a major change for a past project, In Passing and the related associated Lest I Forget project. More about all of that in the months to come.

This was also an event that I served as a judge for the photobook competition and subsequently provided a couple of walking discussions, bottom photography by Nancy Albright, of the exhibited books as a guest curator. Nice.

Cheers!

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May 4, 2016

Silvershotz magazine features Pine Lake

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Pine Lake, self-published artist book, copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

I am really stoked and honored to announce that my artist book Pine Lake was just featured in SilverShotz magazine; Volume 10, Edition 8 (May 2016). The Silvershotz article includes the background for my semi-fictional story about an American summer rite of passage: a guy’s get-away fishing trip and has eight photographs that include the cover(s) and some of the interior pages. Really nice.

One more copy of this limited edition found a wonderful home during Photobook Independent this last weekend, so just a couple more of these artist books remain available.

The recent attention on this artist book is inspiring me to finish Bluewater Shore, which I had a work-print portfolio with me at Photobook Independent to share and discuss. This pending artist book generated some really good feedback.

Cheers!

April 21, 2016

Guest curator for Photo Book Independent

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:08 pm

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As a follow-up to being one of the judges for the Photo Book Independent book competition, I am honored to also be providing two curatorial discussions of the juried-in books as well as the other photobooks available during Photo Book Independent.The schedule for talks, book signings and curatorial discussions has just been posted.

The first curatorial walk will be held first on Friday night at 6pm just prior to the VIP opening of the exhibition space at Raleigh Studios (yes, a functioning sound stage in the midst of the film capital). The second walking discussion will be on Sunday morning at 10:30 am just prior to the opening for the general public. I am planing on an hour discussion, but be prepared, it could last a little longer depending on the questions and answers.

For the juried-in photo books, since I was part of the judging and had developed the judging process, I am planning to provide a little back-ground on the judging criteria. How did we decide which books were interesting and provocative and which did not seem to past muster and capture our attention? If you were every thinking about submitting a book dummy or photobook to a competition, this could be an interesting discussion for you.

The good news, my curatorial discussions are FREE to participate, but the space is limited and if you want to join for what I hope is an interesting, fun and informative event, you need to sign up for it NOW: http://photoindependent.com/talks-and-book-signings/

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Cheers!

April 3, 2016

Photobook Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:01 pm

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2016 photobook jury team

As I announced here last month, I am part of the photobook jury team for Photobook Independent and the first photobook competition (me in the white shirt in the group photo above). More about the rest of the jury, here. The actual book judging occurred in LA yesterday.

I can’t announce any results at this time as the scoring and final evaluations are still in progress. I do appreciated that the team accepted my photobook judging recommendation to evaluate/score each photobook on the aspects of: Photography, Concept, Design and Publication.

The submissions were diverse, interesting and for me, a daunting challenge to evaluate and score. I am more accustomed to spending a least a couple of hours with just one book, least try to evaluate more than 70 in the span of an afternoon. It did not help the judging process that I occasionally would slow to really spend quality time with a captivating book  and as a result that to no one’s surprise that I was the last book judge remaining at the end of the event. Oh well.

Next, we are working on a schedule for me to provide a curatorial discussion of the winning book selections as well as the other books available during Photobook Indendent (in LA) at the end of this month. More about that event soon.

Cheers!

March 10, 2016

PhotoBook Competition Judge

Filed under: Art Market, Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:39 pm

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Photobook Independent – Photobook Competition 2016

I have some great news, I am honored to be recently selected as one of the judges of the PhotoBook Competition this year as a part of the Photo Independent activities occurring at the end of April in Los Angeles. I just posted a quick update as to the judges and the submission timing on my other blog The PhotoBook,  so check it out if you would like some more information.

If you have a published book and copies still available for sale, then you may want to check this opportunity out now (deadline for mailing submissions is March 21st!). I am now looking forward to all of the submissions, as this should be great chance for me to get a quick pulse on the photographic community.

Cheers!

November 2, 2015

Refocusing a project

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Morning Shadow, Denverton, California, 2007 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Following up on yesterday’s post perhaps a little more about how this project has come back full circle to a Black & White portfolio. As a project, this series of roadside memorials was starting to get a little traction in 2008 and I felt it had potential to go beyond the LensWork magazine publication as a photobook. The project at that time had a uniqueness, although  I did feel that the subject did not lend itself to posters (I did get this wrong) and something folks would want to hang in their living room. After a couple of rejected book submissions the project began to coast, as feeling a little defeated, I stopped making book submissions and became very introspective.

As a result, I “jumped the shark“, the t.v. slang for when there is a big change in a series plot, resulting in the audience losing interest and the series quickly tanks. I think that moving to color photographs and renaming the project did just that. I lost continuity with my audience. I did learn more about myself during this transition, such as photographing my Ciociaria project in color which resulted in the publication of a book. But in retrospect, I think that the In Passing project was visually stronger in Black & White.

Now I am re-examining all of my original photographs and although I will develop these as Black & White images, I have found that my interpretation has become a bit more refined. Part of which is that I have learned more about how to convert a color digital file in Photoshop to Black & White.

As an example is this photograph, Morning Cross, Central California, I had used a lens polarizer for the original exposure, but regretfully that only effected part of the morning sky. This resulted in a dramatic darkening on the left side of the sky and fading to almost white on the right side of the print, which I had found visually distracting. Now with a Photoshop Black & White adjustment layer and playing with the two blue settings, I am able to create a more even sky tone across the horizon. I think the print/image retains more of the emotional impact that I had experienced and I am very happy to have revisited this image.

Cheers!

October 3, 2015

Flying by the seat of my pants

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Untitled (Over Oz, Michigan, 2015) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale

I keep getting asked how I am able to create my interesting aerial landscapes that I share here, such as this one and the one I posted yesterday. So here is the story about how I photograph landscapes while flying by the seat of my pants, thus I guess you could describe this article as a mini-photo workshop.

Since I fly frequently on assignment, I fall into that category of being a frequent flyer (yep, over 2 million miles on just one airline, and yes, the airlines does keep track). The favorites seat for most frequent flyers is an aisle seat towards the front of the airplane. On the other hand, I also go for the front of the plane, but a window seat that will be facing North (e.g. on the left of the plane leaving southern California). Two reasons, I want to be in front of the wing to maximize an unobstructed visibility of the passing landscape and if you are facing South, you will deal with the effects of constant sunlight. Most aircraft have been around a while, which means scratched windows, both inside and out which creates issues with flare and terrible reflections.

The creative corollary is that if you like to deal with the effects of sun as part of your image development process, then go for it and select the South facing window seats; I for the most part, don’t. Another reason to choose a South facing window is if you have a late afternoon flight and you think you might catch an aerial sunset, which at times can be very striking. But then I am not usually chasing sunsets.

As a last alternative, I may have to end up with a window seat at the back of the plane. If the plane engines are configured on the wing, then I try to get as far back in the plane as possible, as the hot engine exhaust can create a soft blur in the resulting photographs (optical diffraction caused by the hot rapidly moving air). Again, the corollary is that this optical effect can be used to creative purposes, but I prefer to get as straight of an image as I can, then work my creative options post-production in PhotoShop. I find it much easier to add a layer to an image and if I decide the effect does not work for me, to then delete the layer and start over again.

As to when to photograph, I think that there are three basic flying conditions; take-off, in-flight and approach on landing. For me, the best of these three conditions are the approach for landing as I am more interested today in the middle landscape, and not as much with the high altitude (30,000 ft plus) broad landscape. On approach, the aircraft will slow down to perhaps 150 mph, rather than the 350 mph plus while cruising. Unlike the take off which can be a rapid climb, the approach is a slow decline lining up with the runway, taking upwards of ten minutes or more in duration, which creates a lot of photographic opportunities. My other trick is to try to look far enough ahead to determine what might come into view by peeking out the window in front of my window, if I can. Even at 150 mph, the composition opportunities are rapidly fleeting.

One of the nice aspects of digital capture is to do a quick sanity check to see if you are picking up any unwanted reflections in the image, as the angle you photograph out the window can pick up some subtle’s that might not be evident in the viewfinder. Not unusual to find my hand or interior of the aircraft being picked up on the interior window reflection if not careful. Basic rule of thumb is to place the front of the lens flush on the window, because as soon as you start to tilt the lens down, the higher the probability you will pick up some window reflections. Since I usually do aim the camera down to capture the passing landscape, I complete a quick check on what angle I can use without picking up unwanted reflections. Always some compromises.

My last piece of advice is to have your camera ready after boarding, not in a never-ready case or in a backpack, as the images are literally fleeting and there is not much time to react to what is rapidly unfolding outside the window. Thus I like to take at least one or two images while the plane is still docked and starting to move out on the tarmac. It gets the creative juices flowing.

Cheers!

December 22, 2014

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

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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.

Cheers!

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September 24, 2014

Pine Lake > The Box of Dummies

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Pine Lake copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

A little update on my artist and limited edition photobooks. With Paris Photo approaching in November, I noted that there is another call for book dummies (Rock Your Dummy!) by the Paris PhotoBook club to be submitted by the end of this October. Last year I had submitted the book dummy for Pine Lake and just noted that the Paris PhotoBook club has a page about resulting The Box of Dummies which are on tour and includes my Pine Lake book dummy. Currently the last remaining copies of this artist book are available from photo-eye‘s photobook store.

So at the moment I am starting to assemble another book dummy (or two) for Bluewater Shore to submit to the Paris Photobook club for potential acceptance and exhibition during Paris Photo and the Rock Your Dummy! event. Especially now that I have most of the kinks worked out for the book design and image sequencing. If all goes per plan, I expect to publish and release the limited edition (150 books?) of Bluewater Shore early in 2015.

Cheers!

May 8, 2014

Publish Your Photography Book – revised edition

Filed under: Books, Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:12 pm

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Copyright 2014 published by Princeton Architectural Press

Darius Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson have updated and revised their how-to book Publish Your Photography Book. The revised (second) edition has a stronger emphasis on Print-on-Demand, mostly focused on the Blurb publishing company, Zines and the Digital Revolution. The later may not be any longer a Revolution. There is a corresponding reduction in focus on the publication of artist books.

I am very delighted that my blog The PhotoBook is again listed in Appendix X, Print and Online Publications and Marketing Resources. Thank you Darius and Mary Virgina!

Cheers!

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