Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

October 22, 2018

Trabuco Flats – mystery noir?

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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.

September 10, 2018

Mystery on the Plano Trabuco – new project

Filed under: Art, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series, Trabuco Flats Mystery — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:23 pm

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Suspicious circumstances, site #5, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Okay, this has been a crazy two weeks. Which has provided me with an unexpected new project with the working title of Mystery on the Plano Trabuco. So how in the heck did this all happen?

With the publication of my recent limited edition artist book, Middle Ground, I was at a bit of a cross roads as to which of the other two projects that I already had in the works to take forward. For my Memory Pods project, the plant cycle was finished for this year, so I was not concerned about creating more photographs for that project. Tara Wray had expressed an interest in this body of work for her TooTired project, so I had begun to edit Memory Pods body of work as I have not spent much time due to the publication of Middle Ground.

Meanwhile, I planned to continue poking around the local area with my cameras for the Gardening for Ordnance project. Accumulating and expanding on that project’s body of work. While poking around in the local park, I came across something that in retrospect the O.C. Sheriff’s office calls “suspicious circumstances”, but when I met with a bunch of the Sheriff officers to inspect what I found (first reported here); they stated that it looked like an old, collapsed shallow grave. Good grief! Since I was not a photo-journalist, my initial thoughts were to make some quick survey photographs and then move on.

At this same time I was writing a review of Julia Borissova’s limited edition book for The PhotoBook Journal and recalled her earlier limited edition book Dimitry, about mysterious circumstances surrounding her Russian subject and subsequent stories. hmmmm, inspiration hit; why not create something similar about what I had recently found? It was a brand new mystery to be investigated!

When I returned to check out what the Sheriff’s office did to close their case at this site and take some additional photographs, I then found another SIX sites similar to the first. Yikes! So I reported this event last weekend, here. Since then, I have completed some research about cadaver dogs that were used to sniff out the area; apparently these skilled dogs can find human burial sites that are really, really old, perhaps 200 years old. So appears that these might not be human burial graves as the reason for digging these mysterious sites. Actually that’s a bit of relief.

Nevertheless, still very much a mystery. And now I have a new project. So next to start working on an artist statement, pre-visualiztion of the new artist book design, back to take more photographs and tweaking the resulting images. I am currently posting some potential images on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) under this project name.

Cheers!

July 11, 2018

Middle Ground – Published

Filed under: Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Picture Postcards — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:06 pm

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Middle Ground, self-published artist book, edition of 99 copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend the publication of the Middle Ground edition was finally completed! Binding the of 99 artist books took a bit longer than anticipated.

Introduction (text not provided in the artist book):

My urban landscape project Middle Ground evolved out my attempts to make some Lemonade. Perhaps not literally. I was commuting from Orange County to San Diego driving south on Interstate-5 freeway and frequently ensnarled in bumper to bumper traffic in North San Diego for a least a half hour of my trip. That part of my commute was a real lemon experience, a stop-n-go traffic condition that left a bitter and unpleasant taste. As part of my artistic practice that I call experimentation/play, I began to use my mobile phone to photograph the adjacent freeway landscape each time I came to a complete stop in traffic as an attempt to create something fun out of an event that was anything but.

As a result of taking the photographs, I was now seeing with clarity an urban landscape that is unique to this section of Interstate-5 as it traverses part of San Diego County. This is a man-built landscape that is usually experienced at speeds of 65+mph while being singularly transfixed on the tail lights of the speeding cars and trucks in front. I quickly came to realize that although San Diego County had planted an extensive landscape barrier between the northbound and southbound freeway to act as a beautiful boundary that over time, this barrier wall had evolved. What I saw was a mash-up of beauty and desolation with an undercurrent of detritus and neglect. A serendipitous element of chance in this project is that I had little control over when the traffic would come to a complete stop to briefly reveal the adjacent landscape.

Intrigued by what I was capturing, I made a decision to upgrade my investigation of this unique landscape to the use a full frame DSLR, with the lens focal length set at the approximate wide angle view of my mobile phone. I had shifted into the next phase of the development of this project.

With my cognitive shift I started investigating the elements of the morning light, which shaped the landscape masses while revealing tantalizing details that had gone unnoticed before. Likewise I found myself drawn to the layers of this urban landscape; the foreground k-rail (Jersey Wall) and vegetation, a mix of planned bushes and wild weeds, the opposing traffic that could be brief seen and heard, the adjacent homes and businesses in close proximity to this roadway as well as how the landscape extended beyond. I also began to notice the mysterious gaps in this barrier landscaping, various marks on the barrier walls and the occasional numbers painted on the concrete.

While the project began to evolve I pre-visualized the potential photobook for this project; a leporello book design that would extend out to simulate this barrier wall, which both a K-rail and this book interior extend 21 feet. Another element were adjustments to the composition of each photograph in order that the top line of concrete barrier would create a continuous line though out the book.

The ensuing body of work is meant to appear factual without an agenda, a very banal urban landscape that is normally not noticed or rarely seen. It is a unique urban landscape that I believe is a realistic characterization of Southern California, not idealized images meant to Romanize a southern California for a holiday experience.

Note: this project was started in the summer of 2016, when the United States presidential election was coming to a close and one candidate kept hammering on the need for a bigly wall to be constructed between the United States and Mexico. As of the summer of 2018 after his election, this bigly wall remains to be built.

Artist book information:

Self-published, launch date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello (accordion) book design

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Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text

Text: English and Spanish

Retail price: $59.50 USD

So ping me if you are interested in a copy of this edition ( doug@douglasstockdale.com)

Meanwhile, I am now taking a short break from posting on Singular Images.

Cheers!

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June 23, 2018

Expired film – Gardening for Ordnance

Filed under: Art, Gardening for Ordnance, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 2:57 pm

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Untitled, Gardening for Ordnance project, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While I am still in the midst of binding the remaining leporello artist books for Middle Ground (yes, book is still available, so message me for details) I have continued to work on two other on-going projects, Memory Pods and Gardening for Ordnance, both with an agenda of investigating memory.

One of my ideas for Gardening for Ordnance to under gird my narrative about history and memory was to use expired 120 film for this project, preferably chrome. Even though I have hoped for some radical visual effects using the expired film, the results have been minimal as I wrote a few days ago.

Nevertheless in the most current batch of processed film there were a couple of images mid-roll that has some striking visual effects (above). I am not sure if this was caused because of the film was expired (about 15 years ago) or the film was light struck somehow. I am thinking it might be the latter as there are only a few frames effected and those before and after do not appear to include this effect. Nevertheless, highly likely that this “defect” is still a result of the film being well used beyond is expiration date.

I think that this image works great with my concept for this project. So I continue to look for when serendipity and chance are introduced into this body of work. Oh, a friend quickly pointed out that with the CC version of Photoshop I can easily correct or substantially diminish this visual defect; NOT!

Cheers!

PS – I have not started a gallery for this project on my web site (have a link on the side bar to related updates for this project), and since I now working more actively on this as I finish the Middle Ground publication, probably a good reason to get one started. Look for an update on that shortly.

June 22, 2018

More Expired film donations

Filed under: Art, Gardening for Ordnance, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:26 pm

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120 Ektachrome & VPS expired film, 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This was a good week for expired 120 film donations for me. I was starting to run a bit thin in my expired film inventory while working on my project Gardening for Ordnance and starting to get a little stingy in my film use. My idea is that while working on a memory project that dates back to WWII (1940’s) that using old expired film might add another dimension to my narrative. Especially if there are any serendipitous visual effects that occur.

So far I am not seeing a lot color variation in the final processed film results for the expired film I have been principally using which was Fujichrome that expired about 2006. This next batch of 120 film might provide a little more variation as the expiration date for the Ektachrome is 1996, 1997 and 1988. During the week I have already used a couple of rolls of the ’96 vintage, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of the soup next week.

I also received a small donation of some expired 120 black & white roll film that is even older going back to a 1984 expiration date, which means it was probably made about 1982, thus almost 35 years old. Very cool! I do not have a specific project in mind for the black & white film yet, but now that I have this film in hand, I will be a bit more receptive to my artistic muse.

Of course if you have some expired 120 film laying about that you would like to get rid of, message me ;- D

Cheers!

Ilford Pan F - expired 1984

June 20, 2018

Middle Ground – contextualized

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Middle Ground, Photobook, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 4:47 pm

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Alternative Crossing, Middle Ground, 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

contextualize; the artist intends to explain, justify and extend their body of work. What a gallery will attempt to accomplish with an artist work that might need to be re-positioned as to it’s artistic merit (as being collectible), e.g. a searing war documentary image as an artistic work (“documentary” photographs are not usually considered “artistic” and could be the kiss of death for an artistic body of work)

Part of my reason to reexamine my artistic statement for Middle Ground stems from the feedback during my artist talk at the exhibition closing reception and some comments from book review submissions. Although I see the symbolic potential for this project, most, if not all, do not. Or at least they sense something that they cannot seem to put their finger on. Middle Ground is mainly considered an ambiguous and mysterious urban landscape project.

Thus my underlying concept for this project is perhaps so subtle that it is not being perceived and I need to restate to my “roots” for this project as what pulled me in to want to create this project; I think is a fascinating urban landscape that typifies southern California and this subject is evolving to create a visually diverse and interesting environment.

Perhaps one comment that was made about this project helps place it into perspective, that it is beyond being banal, as this is an urban landscape that is not being noticed. Which I think I agree, these are snapshots of an urban American landscape that we frequently encounter yet remains relatively unseen, perhaps what lends some of the visual mystery to this body of work.

Similar to the recent photographs of the British urban landscape photographer Simon Roberts and those photographers featured in New Topographics, a landscape project with an attempt at a visual neutrality, presented as seemingly factual and in a non-romantic manner that one does not usually associate with an idealized southern California. Perhaps why some reviewers try to pigeon hole this project in the documentary genre.

Maybe why the curiosity about my photographs; I think it triggers a memory without the ability to find a mooring for it. As though there is something vaguely familiar about this urban landscape but lacking an identifiable context.

I still think that my conceptual idea provided the guiding rudder for my editing of the images and how these inspired my artist book’s leporello design. So I am not walking back on this aspect of my project.

In conclusion: an urban landscape study of a unique region of southern California with a mysterious dark undercurrent.

What do ya think?

Also a reminder that my artist book Middle Ground is still available for purchase; message me for more information. And yes, I am continuing to assemble the books with another visit to the post office yesterday for book homes destined in Hong Kong, Spain, Russia and Colorado.

Cheers!

 

 

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

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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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