The PhotoBook

February 25, 2014

Photobook reviewer for EMAHO magazine

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:00 pm

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“America” photobooks

I had announced on my personal blog earlier this week that my photobook reviews will soon start being co-published in EMAHO magazine. Manik Katyal, the editior and publisher, has also asked me to be the “America” photobook specialist while Colin Pantall focuses more on the European photobooks. I thought that this was an interesting request and we are still defining this request. At the moment, as hopefully illustrated by the stack of books above, I am taking a very broad and liberal viewpoint on what constitutes an America photobook. I think I have always had a global perspective on contemporary photobooks, so I will not preclude discussing photobooks that don’t fit into this America category.  Should be interesting.

The readers of this blog will probably notice some changes. First, since EMAHO is an on-line magazine for photography, fine art and music, I do need to format the size of my images to be consistent with their layout. All supporting photographs will have a wide frame and slightly larger than I have been using to date. I had standardized a long time ago on a 800 pixel width which will not change to a 868 pixel width. You might like the larger photographs, eh?

Another change is the background that the photobooks are resting on, which has been the flooring of my work area. This background has at times created a bit of inconsistency in the color management of my supporting photographs effecting the color of the books and their interiors. This color drift issue has been bugging me for some time so in conjunction with a recent rearrangement of my studio, I have created a new space to photograph the books. I am still tweaking this a little, but I am evaluating at a couple of different white backgrounds.

So the first book that I plan to publish on EMAHO magazine is the late W. Eugene Smith opus The Big Book published by the University of Texas Press (Austin, TX) last year. This book is a facsimile of a maquette (book dummy) that Smith created in 1960 but the final book was never published in his lifetime. Below are a couple of my test images with the new format and background. I still notice a very slight color shift of the backgrounds in the two images (same background), but an improvement over my earlier process. Still a little bit more work to do.

Oh yes, I did not realize until I published this book photo that I had inadvertently inverted Andreas Oekter-Kast  photobook Looking for Wonderland, a German photographer’s road trip through America.

Cheers!

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February 21, 2014

Pine Lake – Out of Print

Filed under: Book Publications, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:23 am

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Pine Lake, copyright 2013 artist photobook by Douglas Stockdale

I recently arranged with photo-eye (Santa Fe, NM) book store to sell the last copies of the edition for my Pine Lake artist photobook. I believe that in publisher’s terms that when all copies are now in the hands of the bookstores that I am officially Out of Print. Wow, that did not take long.

So there is one remaining copy of the edition at As Issued, here on the left coast, and a couple with photo-eye and L’Ascensure Vegetal for Europe.  Pine Lake is SOLD OUT at the Reminders Photography Stronghold gallery in Japan.

I really do appreciate the great response to this book and my short semi-fictional story. As many of you have told me, it looks great in photographs on the web, but it’s awesome when holding the actual book object.

I suspect that I soon will be making the announcement that Pine Lake is SOLD OUT. very nice.

Cheers!

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February 9, 2014

Clint Woodside – Undercover Cars

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Copyright Clint Woodside 2013 published by Deadbeat Club press (#07)

Woodside’s subject is cars found in Southern California which have some protective cover placed over them. The car cover has a dual role, protect the car from the natural elements, in Southern California that is predominately the sun, as well as being a deterrent to car thieves.

Woodside reveals a whimsical and satirical side in his documentary of the effectiveness of the car covers. He photographs covers that barely conceal a vehicle, covers that are providing an ineffective concealment, or a car that is in such a deplorable state of condition that the reader wonders why this car needs any protection whatsoever. His secondary narratives include the mystery that surrounds these concealed cars and calls into question the car culture of Southern California.

This type of stiffcover book publication is commonly referred to as a Zine, which utilizes the saddle stitch (staples) binding common of many early magazines. Interestingly, many large circulation and popular magazines today have stiff covers and due to the quantity of pages, are perfect bound (hot glue) and have an actual spine. Zines usually do not have a spine as a hardcover book might and by nature of their binding, usually lay very flat.

The book does not include pagination, captions or text.

FYI, the second image below includes Woodside’s signature which I acquired during the recent LA Art Book Fair.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

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February 8, 2014

Paul Seawright – Volunteer

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Copyright Paul Seawright 2013 published by Artist Photo Books

Paul Seawright’s earlier photographic work provides the conceptual foundation for this photobook. In his Sectarian Murder, 1988 he photographed the sites of sectarian murders around Belfast and removed reference to the victim’s religion. By depoliticizing the violence, Seawright focuses on the extensive civilian losses that occurred during this conflict. In his 2002 Afghanistan photographs, Seawright photographs artifacts that remain after a conflict again attempting to depoliticize the events that led to the violence.

In Volunteer, Seawright investigates the locations and sites adjacent to where the US military recruits. His narrative provides an examination of location of the US military recruitment centers sprinkled around the country and thus investigates the US Military recruit practices. His bleak viewpoint is focused away from the actual recruitment centers and out toward the surrounding urban landscape. It is his attempt to describe where, thus indirectly who, are the individuals that the US military is seeking to recruit.

The selected body of work depicts urban locations commonly found on the fringes of society. Many of the store fronts are vacant, structures are abandoned and the parking lots are virtually empty. This body of work is meant to be another series of depoliticizing photographs. Nevertheless these images are other than coldly objective, providing a subtle criticism of violence and war. Most of the photographic form is somber, featuring forlorn man-built landscapes predominantly captured during overcast days to create dreary feeling landscapes.

This is an image wrap hardcover book, without pagination or captions. The Introductory essay is by Seawright. The book’s binding is Smyth sewn which allows for a wonderful lay-flat read and was printed in four-color by Cassochrome in Belgium.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

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February 4, 2014

Ed Templeton – Random & Pointless

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copyright Ed Templeton 2014 published by Deadbeat Club (#19)

Ed Templeton’s recent photobook Random & Pointless is a intriguing narrative about youth,  just hanging out and experiencing life as it rolls by.

The mash-up of black & white and color street photographs appear Random, as evidenced by the inclusion of various contact sheets, as the free association of street photography is frequently practiced. This is a visceral read that may appear on the surface as being Pointless, or at least irreverent, raising questions as to the underlying context of this photobook and perhaps questions about the act of photographing.

The photographs are printed to include the surrounding negative substrate that can be read to indicate 1) the photographs are uncropped images, 2) these are two-dimensional photographic images and 3) to document that the photographs were made from film and are not digital images.

This photobook is a layered and complex read. The photobook literally becomes more intimate as the many layers unfold. The random unseen events becoming visible, asking the reader the unanswered question as to what is the point?

The book has a stiff covers with a saddle-stitch binding and a double-sided printed belly band that wraps the covers. The belly band incorporates two rows of color negatives on one side and two rows of black and white negatives on the opposite side. The color variations of the Black & White photographs in the images below do closely reflect the book’s actual print colors.  This is essentially an artist book with the inclusion of the six various hand-made folds incorporated into the book’s design.

by Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

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February 2, 2014

LA Art Book Fair – 2014

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:41 am

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untitled (LA Art Book Fair, January 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale

Last year I was pretty stoked when it was announced that the NY Art Book Fair would be making a Left Coast appearance. And it was pretty nice event with my only big complaint was the crappy lighting made very difficult to examine most books. And for viewing a photobook, the lighting can make a difference. Nevertheless I was pretty excited that there was a second LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, especially as I noted a stronger attendance by photobook publishers, dealers and bookstores.

And somebody got the message, the lighting was much, much improved and I don’t recall any complaints about it compared to the uproar last year.

My hour and half drive up from Orange County paled with those who flew in from London, Paris and other parts of Europe as well as Japan and Asia. What a fantastic melting pot. In many, many ways. A lot of tables with some very small publishers covering a full range of diverse artistic subjects. It is really nice to have this opportunity in our back yard. Personally I would like to see a lot more of the contemporary photobook publishers being represented, nevertheless there were more this year than last, so if the buzzzz continues to be good, perhaps there will be even more next year.

Other personal issue is the paucity of photobook/artist stores which carry true hand-made artist books. Even Printed Matter in NYC stated that they do not carry many titles if the sales price exceeds $50.00. There are rare book dealers who make a trade in the $250 to $10,000+ books, but they do not carry new or recent artist book titles. Give me a shout-out if you are aware of some hand-made artist book sellers.

So this year I took a few more photographs while I attended the Book Fair since Lauren Henkin, who coordinates the Handmade Books by Artists group on Facebook, gave me a shout-out to report on the event. So first qualifier, I am not a photojournalist, perhaps a story teller but not a documentary photographer. That said, since a photograph is a thousand words, my visual reportage follows below. And most of my portraits documented the new fans of The Photo Book Club who were proudly wearing their new badges (at least for the moment).

Cheers!

My thanks to Clint Woodside, Kelsey Vance, Mary Virginia Swanson, Sarah Hadley, Aron Morel, Mike Slak, Harper Levine, Maura Lucking, and Alex Campox for be patient subjects.

02/02/14 postscript: Erik van der Weijde brought to my attention late last night that I missed one of the project rooms (yeah, the one he was in and I did want to meet up with him) in the labyrinth of gallery space (okay, a beef, but heck it was on their event map, so my bad). In retrospect, I did something similar last year. This is a complex space to visit. And I did not by any means look at each title on every table, this is one very, very dense book event. Admittedly I skimmed a bunch of the areas which I was having trouble connecting. It is really meant to be more than a one day visit, but it is what it is and I am very happy to have been able to spend the time I did. Already looking forward to next year!

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