Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

November 12, 2018

10 years of photo book inspirations

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Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

As many of you know, in addition to writing this photo-blog in which I discuss my photographic projects and other odds and ends, I am also the Editor of The PhotoBook Journal. I started The PhotoBook Journal (TPBJ) shortly after starting this blog back in 2008 when I noticed that there was an extremely strong response to the book reviews of the photobooks in my personal collection. At that time there was really only one other photobook review site by Jeffery Ladd, which he has since ceased contributing to. So now 10 years have passed and we just passed the 500th photobook review! That’s a big Wowzer!!

Meantime, I have continued to acquire more photobooks in my collection, as well as receive donations (aka submissions) for consideration, photobooks that either I could not afford or not sure I would acquire. I realized that one aspect that I could provide with TPBJ is to review a broad and diverse range of International photobooks to expand the potential creative consideration for artists, photographers and collectors.

In turn this diversity of books has also inspired my photographic and photobook practice. I will also admit that writing the TPBJ has forced me to think a little clearer about the intent of a photographic project. Likewise I think the editorial responsibilities have drastically improve my writing skills; no longer an engineer writing a cut and dried specification or technical report, but now thinking of how to create an informative and inspirational narrative. Wow. I think my high school English teacher would be stunned by the transformation.

Likewise, I have been able to hold some of the most inspirational and brilliantly designed and printed photobooks that have published over the past 10 years. I also think that we have also helped to launch a few photobook artist careers, as the only prerequisite for consideration on TPBJ is a well thought out and executed photobook project. Thus many, many photobooks that personally inspire me for my own book practice; the books in my collection set the bar pretty high as well as provide some very creative alternatives. This led to Ciociaria being published by Edizioni Punctum (still available), and my three self-published limited edition artist books; Pine Lake (sold out), Bluewater Shore (just a few left) and this year, Middle Ground (still available).

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Middle Ground, published 2018, copyright Douglas Stockdale

Which in turn has lead to my photobook design workshops and subsequently to mentoring other artists, photographers, and publishers as to how to move their personal or business practices forward. Such as the photobook by Christine Kaplan, On My Walk, that I provided the book design and editing which she self-published this summer. The workshops and mentoring led to the publication last year of Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book last year & which is still available ($19.95 USD plus postage; message me if you would like a copy of this or the others doug@douglasstockdale.com)

All in all, the last 10 years has been an inspirational and wonderful ride; thanks for supporting me on this interesting artistic journey!

Cheers,

Doug

November 1, 2018

Book workshop with Medium Festival of Photography

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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!

 

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

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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

September 12, 2018

Introduction to PhotoBook Design – October LACP workshop

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Books, Photobook, Workshops — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:36 pm

Introduction to Photo Book Design with Douglas Stockdale (Two sessions)

Introduction to Photo Book Design workshop

Los Angeles Center for Photography

Next month, October 7th and 14th, I will be repeating my popular two-day workshop in conjunction with the Los Angeles Center for Photograph (LACP). This workshop focuses on the fundamental development of a book; understanding the artists intent and how that then translates into a book object in the editing, sequencing and layout of the book supported by the book’s design attributes.

The two-day goal of the workshop is for each person to leave with a first rough draft of their book dummy of their personal photographic project. I will provide both creative and practical book design options and project critiques to help those attending to move their book publication forward.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first morning will be spent understanding each artist/photographers publishing objectives. Subsequently I will include discussions on the elements of book design, essence of project editing, image editing and sequencing, the purpose of a physical book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine.

The second session delves further into the book dummy development and includes discussions about the business elements of (self/indie) publishing a book, critical book production elements and making a publisher submission. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project as well as some one-on-one time with each participant.

The feedback I have received over the years is this workshop has been critical to many artist and photographers for their publishing success; helping provide clarity on their project and providing creative book design options. So whether you are developing your very first book or your book project is one of many, I think you will find our time together to be really inspiring.

I hope you can join me for this fun and yet intensive workshop.

This workshop is being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

 

September 8, 2018

New project about found shallow grave sites

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OC county park, September 8 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I had stated in my Summer 2018 update earlier this week that I had found what the local OC Sheriff’s office is calling a “shallow grave” that falls under their category of “suspicious circumstances”. Although I am not a photo-journalist, I have now decided that perhaps this site and surrounding area might be a potential project, perhaps taking an inspiration cue from the artist books created by the Russian artist Julia Borissova, such her book Dimitry.

Thus the start of a new project, with the working title Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. So more about this project and potential artist book shortly. Meanwhile, some new events have changed things a bit about this site.

So yesterday I checked with the OC Sheriff’s office and found out that they were not going to investigate what I had found any further. Being the curious type, I went back to this shallow grave this morning to see what might be have occurred there. Hmmmm. No digging or other others probing of this site. So while there, I might take a few more photographs for my new project.

So while walking around to create a large environmental context for this site, I found a SECOND site of what appears just like the first; another old, collapsed shallow grave. YIKES!!

I could not believe its. Another one! Looking like I was going to be making another call to the OC Sheriff. Then I stated thinking, if two, maybe more?? So I started a very wide criss-cross walking pattern over this field. With the early morning light and the long shadows, I discovered another FOUR. WTF! Now SIX of these.

Diffidently need to call the OC Sheriff’s again. Wow, wow, wow.

So I made another call to the OC Sheriff and they wanted to see these additional sites, so another walk in the field to show the officers what I had found. They really only wanted to see two more to confirm there are multiple sites in this field. They also shared that they have already had the cadaver dogs run this field and did not get any “hits”. So appears that this is curious, but that the OC Sheriff’s are probably not going to do anything further, even with the fact there are six of these suspicious old collapsed shallow gave sites. Btw, what I also realized after the fact; the third of these sites I showed the officers was NOT one I found earlier today, so that takes it up to SEVEN of these sites in this field. Wow! And the Sheriff’s office does not appear that they are going to do anything further. hmmmmm.

Okay, that really confirms for me that there is a Mystery on the Plano Trabuco!

June 15, 2018

Portfolio Review for LACP’s EXPOSURES 2018

Filed under: Art Market, Photography, Projects/Series, Workshops — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:58 am

2017 LACP Portfolio Review photo

Douglas Stockdale, portfolio reviewer, EXPOSURES 2017, Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP)

I am very honored to again to join the LACP portfolio reviewer team during EXPOSURES 2018 this July. I will be on-site providing portfolio reviews for both Saturday and Sunday this year. Similar to last year, my emphasis will be on photographic projects, editing and sequencing photographs and of course, assisting those who have a strong interest in publishing their work.

Registration is now open for the portfolio reviewers and the workshops.

EXPOSURES 2018 event: Friday – Sunday, July 20 – 22, 2018 at the Holtel MdR in Marina del Rey, CA (near the LAX airport in Los Angeles)

The Portfolio Review team includes (I did not include those who are already sold out): Chad Attie, Gallery Director, Eastern Star Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Sherrie Berger, Photo Consultant, Los Angeles, CA; Jonathan Blaustein, Contributor, NYTimes Lensblog and A Photo Editor; Kyle Bradley, CEO/Founder, Nava Print Studio, Chicago, IL; Susan Burnstine, Contributor, B+W Magazine (UK); Marisa Caicholo, Founder/Curator of Building Bridges Art Exchange, Los Angeles, CA; Catherine Couturier, Owner/Director, Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston, TX; Chris Davies, Founder/Director, Fabrik Projects Gallery and Photo Independent, Los Angeles, CA; Michael Dawson, Owner, Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Crista Dix, Founder/Director, Wallspace Creative, Santa Barbara, CA; Christy Havranek, Photo Director, Huffington Post;
Virginia Heckert, Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA – (Almost SOLD OUT); Anne Kelly, Gallery Director, photo-eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Randi Kreeft, Gallery Director, the Loft at Liz’s Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Dhyandra Lawson, Curatorial Asst., Department of Photography, LA County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Douglas Marshall, Independent Curator/Appraiser; Kristina Newhouse, Curator, University Art Museum, Long Beach, CA; Cindy Rowe, Art Producer, Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, CA; Aimee Santos, Editorial Picture Editor, Shutterstock; Cheyanne Sauter, Executive Director, Art Share LA, Los Angeles, CA; Hannah Sloan, Founder/Director Sloan Projects; Sybylla Smith, International Curator, Educator and Consultant; Aline Smithson, Founder/Editor, Lenscratch – (Almost SOLD OUT); Mackenzie Stevens, Curatorial Assistant, Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA – (Almost SOLD OUT); Yessica Torres, Curator, Dab Art, Ventura, CA & of course, me: Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor, The Photo Book Journal.

Also some cool workshops, including:

Friday, July 20

10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Workshop – Now What? Re-energizing Your Photography Career with Aline Smithson
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Seminar – Steps to Success for Photographers with Sherrie Berger
02:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Seminar – The Business of Gallery Representation with Crista Dix

Saturday, July 21

09:30 am – 5:00 pm – Workshop – Concept Aware: Enhance Your Creative Practice with Sybylla Smith
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Seminar – Fine Art Digital Printmaking: Why and How with Cheryl Kelleher Walsh & Eric Joseph
02:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Seminar – Untangling The Web of Social Media with Paul-Michael Carr

Sunday, July 22

09:30 am – 5:00 pm – Workshop – Pushing Your Work Forward with Jonathan Blaustein
09:30 am – 1:30 pm – Workshop – Street Shooting on Venice Beach with Julia Dean 
01:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Workshop – A to Z Grantwriting with Linda Vallejo

So let me know if you have any questions, otherwise, see you there!

Cheers,

Doug

 

June 12, 2018

Feedback – Artist talk at Fabrik Projects

Filed under: Art, Books, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:10 pm

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Douglas Stockdale, Artist talk, Fabrik Projects, photos by Kasey Taylor

Having an opportunity to having an open discussion with those interested in your work is a great chance to create a dialog as well as get some really honest feedback from your work. Really honest. Yes, there was what one person called afterwards a little bit of a “heated discussion” between a couple of individuals who had different takes on this project.

For my part, talking about myself and my project is not the easiest thing to do, makes me a bit nervous, so I did not think that I provided the most eloquent presentation, but almost everyone else thought that my talk and subsequent discussion was very informative. Perhaps this event for me was similar to participating in a portfolio review, except it was live, on-stage and with a whole lot of people involved, all providing input at the same time while I did not have a chance to write notes. A bit intense.

So some take aways:

First and foremost, when asked what others thought that this project was about before I told them about my concept, they almost all agreed; an urban landscape that was mysterious and since they could not figure out the place, ambiguous, and in the consistent way it was presented, very intriguing. They were all really curious and wanted to know more. Which was totally in line with my initial framing and idea for this project. So that was pretty cool!!

Regretfully what no one was talking about was if this body of work could be considered a political parody of the Trumpian Mexico border wall. Or if it could be a metaphor for injustice or political/social/cultural issues rising out of blocking and stopping segregation or other types of impediments. I think that this point underlies one of the issues of conceptual art, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Especially if the concept is abstract enough and the underlying idea is not presented in a way to visually connect the message with the images, which I understood was one of the concerns with my project; it does not shout-out a strong political protest narrative.

Nevertheless, having my underlying concept did help me in how I created this body of work and I believe helped to inform me on the artist book design and layout. I also appreciate that this concept helped me create an intriguing and mysterious body of work.

So some other things that came to light; here in California the concrete structures that are the base of these barriers are called K-rails, while apparently everyone else in America call these structures Jersey Walls or Jersey Barriers. Interesting.

Many of the beautiful blooming plants that I photographed, such as the one on the cover of my artist book, are Oleander, which is actually a very poisonous plant. The physical barrier is actual multi-faceted and more complex than I had realized, thus creating another dimension to my project that I was unaware of. Perhaps another reason for this project appearing mysterious and having another darker dimension and undercurrent as to what appears as beautiful.

All in all, it was a really wonderful opportunity for some interesting feedback on my project, which I appreciated very much. Oh, and if you are now more interested in my artist book, editions are available from Fabrik Projects, Arcana book store (Culver City) or from me.

Cheers!

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May 31, 2018

Featured artist on Artsy

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:15 am

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Marker #169, Middle Ground, 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I just found out that I am one of the two “artist of the week” featured on Artsy, one of the web based portals that are used by galleries to promote their represented artist. As a friend of mine stated, Artsy is a different platform on the web, and they act as an aggregator of art from hundreds of galleries.

Artsy claims that they have over 50,000 artist on their searchable data base, and have sub-categories of Emerging Art, Contemporary Chinese Art,  Contemporary Photography, Abstract Sculpture, Post-War European Art (not exactly sure which war), Contemporary Furniture, Post-War American Art, Contemporary Conceptualism, & East Village Art. As you might guess, Artsy is not restricted to just photography. Which is interesting as Fabrik Projects, which now represents me, is a gallery that does not exhibit just photography, but painters and other art media. For me I think that Fabrik Projects is a good fit, as much of my recent photographic based artworks do not seem mesh well with the straight photography-only galleries.

The other aspect of Artsy is that an individual artist/photographer can not gain access to their site and services unless they are represented by a gallery. So it is the gallery owner who makes a decision to have their gallery become an Artsy member, and then their represented artist become part of the Artsy searchable network. So this is another immediate upside to my representation by Fabrik Projects that I had not anticipated. Nice.

What I did not have a say about and now wonder why of the many images that I now have on Artsy as to why they chose the above image as a representational photograph/image. hmmmm.

I had been thinking that I was going to write about the new Artsy representation by Fabrik Projects after my current exhibition closed, but being featured this week sort of changed my priories in discussing this aspect of being a represented artist.

Cheers!!

 

May 29, 2018

Artist talk June 2nd at Fabrik Projects

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Middle Ground exhibition, photograph by Don Webb II

One of the requests that apparently reoccurred during my opening reception is for an artist talk about this exhibition and artist project. The artist talk is now scheduled to coincide with the exhibition closing reception at 4pm on Saturday, June 2nd (2018) at the Fabrik Projects gallery.

To talk about myself and my art projects is not always the easiest thing for me to do. To write about it as I have on this blog is okay, perhaps something I am more comfortable with in that I have an opportunity to develop what I write and the edit before I commit to publishing it. Even then when I have some second thoughts, I can come back and edit what I wrote. I am also very comfortable teaching a workshop about a subject that I am very familiar with, such as my book development class with LACP. Talking about myself and my art projects, perhaps not so much.

What does help if I start taking some notes to outline what I want to convey, then leaving plenty of time for questions and answers. I am going to try to cover the basics about this artist project: what, where, when, how and maybe the most critical; why. I also suspect that this will be a walking talk, not a formal group sit-down, which will help me a little bit more in that it’s a bit easier for me if I can walk and talk about the exhibition.

The photograph above is the exhibition space that I had envisioned for this project in how the photographs (barriers) would ring around the room and thus surround the viewer. One of the many exhibition trade-offs; larger prints but then less images in this space. It will be interesting to get some more feedback during my talk as I already plan to defer to some open ended questions for the group.

Location: Fabrik Projects; 2636 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles (near Culver City)

Artist talk & reception: Saturday, June 2nd,  4 -7pm

Cheers & hope to see you there!

 

May 26, 2018

America Memorial Day

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:25 pm

America

America, (Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra), 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Here in the United States we are celebrating Memorial Day over this long three day weekend, a wonderful event for many reasons. As a kid it meant that we were going to be out of school shortly and the summer vacation was about to go into full swing. Also meant that the winter weather was gone, flowers were blooming, and it was going to get hot along with the evening swarm of mosquito, the nastiest of little flying biting insects.

As a child I had learned that this weekend was also about honoring those who served in the military, but as my dad and all of his brothers had survived WWII, understanding the underlying sacrifice was really lost on me then. Later when the Vietnam war was upon me and high school friends had gone to serve and then some did not come back, I really came to understood the full impact of what military service was about.

I have also come to celebrate this weekend in a much broader sense; a weekend to remember all of those who served as well as those others who have now passed through this life and a growing appreciation of all those still living among us.

Thus I felt very honored when my gallery used the above photograph, America, from my Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra project, as a memorial day weekend celebration announcement. In the context of Memorial Day I think that this photograph is a contemporary urban man-built landscape that metaphorically reflects on the current issues facing America. As our national anthem states That our Flag was still there, this photography visually signifies to me that we will get through this current political mess as individuals attempt to create barriers, impediments and divisions. That there is still hope for our country.

Cheers,

Doug

Photographic prints; 40 x 50″ (42 x 52″), 30 x 40″ (32 x 42″) , 22 x 28″ (24 x 30″), 16 x 20″ (17x 22″) available from Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles.

 

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