Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

June 19, 2017

Fathers Day & remembering Dad

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:42 pm

06-11-17_two_rods_101943-02_Newport-Beach-Pier

Two rods, Newport Beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past weekend was Father’s Day, a time to celebrate Dads and for some of us, to remember their Dad’s who are no longer with us. In my case it was the later as my Dad had passed almost thirty years ago. Yesterday in honor of Father’s Day I posted the above photo that I had taken a earlier on the Newport Beach pier as part of my experiment/play process. At the time that I took the photo and then subsequently tweaked it I had not really given much thought to the metaphoric potential. Until I posted it on Instagram and starting spent a little more time thinking about this image.

So what I realized is that these two fishing rods could represent the current state of me and my dad. Both of us like to fish, he much more than I every will, with the fishing rod on the right going out of focus and appearing to become fainter and harder to make out the details. Which I realized is part of my memory process over the last thirty years I have lost many details about our time spent together. Although these details and experiences are becoming harder to recall he still is a presence however faint he has become. Which was why this weekend this photograph became important to me.

Sometimes I do not recognize the serendipity of my creative works until later, but for me better late than never.

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your father’s and dad’s this weekend and if they are still around cherish the time you still have together.

Cheers!

June 13, 2017

OCMA Family Day out-take

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:48 pm

06-11-17_OCMA_Compass-Dance_5052_b-w

Compass Dance, OCMA June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I was the event photographer again for the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) Family Day held in conjunction with their latest exhibition. Although my intent was to capture the interaction of the attendees with the exhibition, family activities and school concerts, I was able to make a few personal photographs. One of which was my capture of the members of the Compass Dance group, above, which is led by Amanda White.

Their dance style is abstract, interpretive and free flowing with a bit of improvisation, which I think is well suited to a slightly slower shutter speed. As a result I hope that I captured some of the kinetics and energy of their dance. Last year I attempted a similar interpretation of the Re:BorN dance assemble.

I do not consider myself a dance photographer but when provided the opportunity to experiment with a group like this I consider this also a time to have some fun, which of course falls under my experiment/fun photographic category. This was also a chance to experiment with my new 50mm f/1.8 lens that I brought along for the occasion.

Who knows where this might lead to one day?

Cheers!

 

June 6, 2017

Mentoring – New service for artists, photographers and organizations

Filed under: Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:41 pm

12-27-16_Seagull_protest_092646-03_San_Diego

Seagull protest, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

In the art business there is a service market segment that I was not really aware of until recently: Mentoring. In my biotech world we would call this same type of service consulting and I have come to understand is essentially the same kind of service; having a skill or expertise that can help others. I suspect that mentoring is just a nicer sounding word and a code word for consulting. I liken it to: “is that person over there nude” or “are they naked”? (hint: Artistic models are nude, they are NOT naked)

That artist, photographers and art professionals are providing mentoring services was under my radar. As I have become more familiar with the term and services, mentoring appears to be more prevalent than I was every aware of and see that this service is offered by many individuals. It’s when you buy a silver Honda SUV you suddenly realize that there are a lot more of this style and color out there driving around than you had ever realized.

My introduction to mentoring came about during and immediately after my LACP book design workshop as those attending the workshop kept asking me about my availability to continue mentoring them on their book project. They in turn told their friends how I had helped them to edit, sequence and layout out their book project which sparked additional inquiries into my availability to mentor them as well. The lights finally came on and it all clicked for me. Okay, maybe I am a bit slow, but I am a biotech professional and I did not come up through the MFA educational mill.

As a biotech design and operations guy with a MBA I have been consulting for over twenty years and I really know that particular consulting world, just not the artistic monitoring world. So I did a quick study about artistic mentoring with some friends who were very gracious to help me come up to speed quickly, especially when they realized that I had a very through understanding of a small artistic niche; all aspects of book design and development.

I am now an artistic mentor! I just had not realized that all of the pro-bono help I have been providing other artist, photographers and organizations for the past five or six years on their book development projects was really providing a mentoring service. The difference is now I have a fee (consulting rate) structure for my mentoring. I currently have three personal clients and one organizational client that I am helping with various aspects of their book programs. Nice.

When I went back to my web site to add mentoring as an artistic capability I realized PhotoShelter, my web service backbone, was not very non-photo friendly. It has great infrastructure for showing and selling photographs, just not very conducive for pages about services. After an inquiry with PhotoShelter during which they admitted this weakness they did provide me a potential work-around that appears to be a good start on how to make my mentoring services available. So I have created a new Bio page and a specific emphasis on my availability for mentoring.

I did check with my friend Susan Burnstine’s website on where & how she advertises her mentoring service to get some additional advertising pointers. Unlike Mary Virginia Swanson, another friend of mine, Susan is somewhat vague and not very specific about her mentoring. Different from my biotech world consulting in which you are very specific about the types of consulting services, skills and experience that you offer. Thus the web advertising is an aspect that is a work in progress in which I am starting out. I think that one of the similarities between artistic mentoring and biotech consulting is “word of mouth”; if you can help make good things happen for someone, the word quickly starts to get around and which I am quickly finding out. Very nice.

So if you have a great idea about a potential book project but realize that you might need some assistance to get your project either self-published or to a publisher, let me know and see if I might be able to help you to get’r done!

Note: the seagull photo above was made at the end of last year on one of my drives down to San Diego and during one of my rest stops along the coast to check out how the adjacent seascape was looking. I found that the juxtaposition of the seagull on top of this specific sign was a bit humorous since this bird was apparently begging for treats from those who were likewise taking in the seascape view.

Cheers!

June 2, 2017

Life Guard Station #13 – featured in YourDailyPhotograph today

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:41 pm

Stockdale_Lifeguard_Station_13_145029-01

Life Guard Station #13, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I am very honored to be featured in YourDailyPhotograph today with a special limited time offer (today!) for the photographic print of Life Guard Station #13, May 2017.

Archival pigment print: 15″ x 15″ on 17″ x 22″ Hahnemuhle matte.

This is part of a series of coastal photographs that I am making along the Southern California shore line. This location was in Dana Point on Doheny Beach.

Cheers!

May 30, 2017

Shipping more Bluewater Shore

Filed under: Bluewater Shore - artist book — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:40 pm

05-08-17_Bluewater_Shore_packages_101352-02_post-office

Bluewater Shore Packages, US Post Office, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Yikes! I was side-lined with the flu for the past couple of weeks and I was finally able to get out of the house just in time for Memorial Day. Today with the post office back in full operation it is time to take the packages over and start the journey to some new homes. nice.

Meanwhile I have a long laundry list of tasks that I need to finish as a result of being sick, nevertheless I will take it one task at a time and what I don’t finish today I will then start on tomorrow. My secret to keep my life in a low stress mode.

Cheers!

 

May 24, 2017

Passionate about Photography

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:43 pm

04-14-16_San_Clemente_beach_surf_fisherman_175619-01

Surf Fishing, San Clemente Beach 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

While I continue to work on my workshop agenda for the LACP Marketing Your Photo Book, I was reminded about a brand focusing process I used for my consulting company many years ago. The methodology has the unlikely name of Hedgehog Concept and when researchers were trying to figure out why certain companies were much better than others that one essential element is the best companies developed relatively simple (if not seemingly boring) business strategies and then stuck to it.

One important aspect of developing a personal Hedgehog Concept is the self-realization of what a person is passionate about. This is not something that I am good at or competent at but really passionate about in a way that I am compulsive. Which in this case I am compulsive about using photography and photographs to create artwork as an artist. I stopped photographing about 1985 to draw and paint and then eventually returned back to photography as I found really missing this aspect of what I was doing creatively. So this is a high level concept that does not really differentiate me from many other artist.

Within my artist practice I also find I get compulsive while working on conceptual projects that once I am engaged it is hard for me to get un-engaged. I continued to take road side memorial photographs for almost six years after this project published was in LensWork. I kept finding myself looking for these memorials and then when I did find one trying to figure out the best time to photograph it. There a lot fewer artist who get compulsive and work on the same conceptual subject for years at a time.

Regarding compulsive projects it also appears that I become more compulsive about the project when I realize it investigates some aspect of memory and its preservation. I know that my reasons to continually focus on this type of subject are unique to me as to why this is an important concept to investigate. Nevertheless, I do understand that many artist are investigating aspects of memory as this seems to be a “popular” genre at the moment.

One thing that I am still going back and forth about: am I compulsive in creating black & white photographs? This may could be a critical aspect of what drives my artistic practice as I do keep coming back to converting color photographs to black & white photographs. I really, really enjoy creating black & white images such as the one in this post. The harsh reality, thinking back to the previous post, is that museums and galleries look at black & white photograph as being Modern/Classic (dated & old fashion) while most “Contemporary” exhibitions embrace color images. Which means I need to think about this aspect some more ;- )

Cheers!

 

May 23, 2017

Artist versus Photographer

Bluewater_Shore-Big_raft

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!

May 19, 2017

Studio Lighting – Norman strobes

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

Norman Strobe set-up for book photography

Photo Book Photography; Norman strobe set-up, April 2017 Copyright Douglas Stockdale

In conjunction with The PhotoBook Journal, I received a donation of a very used Normal Strobe Lighting kit to improve my process of photographing book covers and interiors. The donation was made by Dual Graphics, the Brea, CA book printer who printed my recent artist book Bluewater Shore. (yes, and as a result, I am providing them with some shout-outs as a way of saying Thanks!). I received a Norman P2000 power pack, two Norman strobe heads and a pair of Bogen light stands.

To make this lighting set work I received some good advice from my studio photo-guy, Scott Mathews and I purchased a pair of light reflectors and a pair of wireless transmitters to trigger the lights (“Do NOT hook a digital camera up directly to these old power packs!“), as well as some advice on how to set the lights up for photographing flat reflective objects like books.

For those who follow this blog, you will recall a few days ago I discussed my new studio camera configuration to complement this studio set-up, below.

It has become quickly apparent to me that this lighting rig is a really big improvement in my book photography process. It is easy to set up and provides solid and consistent image results versus my prior make-do process. Mathews suggested that I use a sheet of white matte board to provide a “kick-in” fill light which is not in the photo above but has made a big difference in the book cover photos, see below, to almost eliminate any dark cast shadows made by lighting a book.

All of this lighting is to support The PhotoBook Journal as I do not see myself right now as a studio photographer as far as who I am as a photo/artist creative. I will admit that this studio lighting capability does open a potential new photographic option for me. So I will see what happens next as my process of experiment-fun does allow me to play with this as a possible option ;- )

Cheers!

Barbara_Peacock_Hometown_cover

Canon_5D_50mm_f_1.4_lens_n_Norman_P2000_power-pack

 

May 18, 2017

Life Guard Station #14 – San Clemente

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

05-09-17_San_Clemente_beach_Lifeguard_station_14__174243v02

Life Guard Station #14, San Clemente, CA, May 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

The same day this month that I captured the gradations beach photo on San Clemente beach that I discussed here, I also photographed the adjacent Life Guard Station #14. In fact I believe that the earlier beach photograph was captured in front of this Guard station.

These are relatively two different photographic image treatments, although both share a similar frontal and formal framing. As the occasion was at dusk, the Life Guard Station was closed down for the evening, thus has a somber, if not lonely, air about it and the beach was without the throngs of beach-goers. But being a man-built structure this does hint at the surrounding beach-oriented culture.

I think the shallow dept of field places more emphasis on this structure rather than the breaking surf in the background. There is still enough environmental context provided while yet still being ambiguous (and hopefully a little mystery) to allow a viewer an opportunity to create their own stories and recall similar memories.

Btw, the subtle differences between the two modified images has me thinking about how I document events and the subsequent treatments applied to the images. Perhaps because I am doing some mentoring for other photographers now and I need to consider my own advice regarding how one creates their own “Brand”. So I suspect I will be writing more about that in the months to come.

Cheers!

May 17, 2017

Experiment-play – LA landscape

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

03-18-17_LA_I5_172509-02

Los Angeles, I-5 Freeway, March 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While driving up the I-5 Freeway into Los Angeles earlier this year, I was again finding myself in the bump-to-bumper traffic grind common for this part of Southern California. So similar to my bumper-to-bumper photographs in my recent drives to San Diego, I used the opportunity that when I came to a complete stop to take a photo of the adjacent landscape. So the resulting urban landscape photographs are a combination of serendipity and chance, something that the Surrealist would appreciate.

The resulting photographs from this day-shoot lay dormant, but I kept coming back to this photographic set as there was something there that retained my interest. Over this last weekend I found myself working on one of the photographs and the results are posted above. This photograph is in line with my idea of experiment-play in which I give myself a lot of freedom to visually experiment.

There is a bit of artistic manipulation of the image, but not too far visually off what might be possible with a long lens from a distance further back while using a wide open (shallow depth of field) aperture. So it’s kinda of “realistic” and might pass as a “straight” photograph. Nevertheless I posted this on Instagram and was somewhat impressed by the big response as measured by the amount of likes.

For me, I have moved beyond a straight document of the landscape to something more personal, perhaps a little more ambiguous, a touch of mystery and that has some metaphoric potential. As Sara Terry said about my Memory Pods project, I have made this subject my own. It has my imprint on it. (Okay, what does that mean? Good question as I am not sure yet, but this idea has my wheels turning)

So this has me thinking some more about my other freeway photographs that I have taken over the years in which I might want to reconsider what a straight or documentary style image should look like. Or perhaps better yet, what is my take on LA and how should I interpret this urban landscape?

Cheers!

 

 

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.