The PhotoBook

March 14, 2015

Alec Soth & Brad Zellar – Michigan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 5:28 am

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_cover

Copyright the artists 2012, LBM Dispatch #3: Michigan, published by Little Brown Mushroom

A couple of years ago at the LA Art Book Fair I acquired LBM Dispatch issue #3; Michigan, published by Little Brown Mushroom (aka LBM), an unusual zine that is the brain-child of Alec Soth (photographer) and Brad Zellar (writer). I had not really planned on reviewing it. Since I recently acquired a copy of Alec Soth’s Songbook (published by MACK; 2014) which incorporates images previously published in the various LBM Dispatches, I thought it might relevant to briefly discuss Dispatch #3 to provide a little more context to Soth’s Songbook.

First to be up front I may have a bias for a photobook about the state of Michigan as I spent too many years of my youth growing up in this state. Some good memories, others not, but to say that I left with my family very shortly after I graduated from college and we have now lived for many, many years in Southern California.  We still have a lot of my wife’s family in Michigan, so we do return, but not too regularly, and over the many years, we have visited much of this State.

As collaboration, the LBM Dispatch zine is an interactive photo-journalistic creation by a pair of guys who seem to enjoy each other’s company while doing road trips across the country.  It is a combination of Black & White photographs, captions and various quotes relevant to the State sprinkled thru out. It does make for a snappy read, not really a newspaper per se, but also not a hard edge, searing recreation of Robert Frank’s The Americans either, although there are some gritty elements present. Maybe this zine is more in spirit and trying to connect with the WPA photographic work of the 1930’s.

As Zellar states “We do not pretend to be real journalist, and though we don’t have a clear agenda when we set out, we do try to shape the narrative and round out themes that develop as we explore the places we visit.”

They came, they saw and this is some of what they saw and heard and what it made us think about. Interesting.

As a photobook zine, this has a softcover similar to a broad sheet, the entire publication is printed on the same weight paper, lightly scored gutter and folded, but not bound; loose. The paper has a slightly heavy hand, a slight off-white color and is not recycled newsprint as are most newspapers. Even with the high quality paper, the black and white images are printed a lower contrast with weak blacks, again frequently as with many newspapers which attempt to save a little money, going lighter with the black ink on the presses.


Btw, the Michigan Dispatch #3 is now Sold Out


Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_1

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_2

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_3

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_4

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_5

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_6

Alec_Soth_&_Brad_Zellar - Michigan_7

September 4, 2014

September Photobook Fairs; CCNY – NY Art Book Fair – VSW

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 7:59 pm

Summer is coming to a close, schools are getting into high gear and Fall is quickly approaching!

As you may have noticed, I took most of the summer off from posting photobook reviews, not that I was avoiding photobooks per se, but more about a concentration on another of my personal projects (working title: Memory Pods) investigating memory and its preservation. Interesting for me is that I initiated this particular project without a clear pre-visualization as to what a resulting photobook might look like and even if there will be one. The subject drew me in and I just followed. nice.

Okay, back to the subject in hand; on the East coast (Right Coast) of the States in September are three photobook events. Two of which, CCNY and VSW (Visual Studies Workshop), occur on the same date but different sides of the state of New York, while the NY Art Book Fair is much broader book fair than just photobooks.

September 13 & 14 (12 – 6pm), opening reception Friday, September 12 6-8pm  EST: The Fifth Annual CCNY Zine & Self-Published Photo Book Fair  at the Foley Gallery, 97 Allen St. Lower East Side, NYC, NY.

September 13th, 12 – 7pm (FREE) VSW Second annual Pub Fair, VSW Auditorium, 31 Prince Street Rochester, New York

September 25th – 28th, Printed Mater’s NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1, NYC, NY

Lots and lots of photobooks and zines to enjoy. Personally I will be on the Left Coast patiently waiting for the LA Art Book Fair in the Spring 2015.


December 13, 2013

Photobook definitions on a new Reference page

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 7:41 pm

While I was reviewing some recent photobooks, I realized that I have been using some book design and publishing jargon that may not be as well known to photographers and readers of photobooks. I think for many folks, the book printer (and bindery) may be a black-box; photographs and essays go in one side and pretty soon a ton of printed photobooks in cardboard boxes come out the other side.

So I decided to provide a little bit of information to demystify some of the book design and publishing (printing) processes and terminology. This may be especially helpful for those who like me who are very interested in creating their own artist books and self-publishing. Thus I have initiated a new Reference page available on the upper right side bar of this blog to provide definitions and links to sites (usually Wikipedia) that provide even more detail.

So check it out and perhaps it might help you understand some of the things lurking in the book designers bag-of-tricks or in the publisher’s black-box. And if you still have some questions, leave a comment and I will try to answer the best I can.


Btw, this is currently a work in progress and hope to have this finished by the end of the year (2013).

January 27, 2010

Hyunjin Kim – Even Your Ears

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 7:37 pm

Copyright Hyunjin Kim, courtesy Farewell Books

Similar to the previous Farewell book that I recently reviewed of Noriko Takazawa’s Sensation, Kim Hyunjin’s Even Your Ears is a study in contextual minimalism, with the book’s title as the only clue for the accompanying photographs. This book does not have an introduction, artistic statement, captions or accompanying essay. I read the books title as being somewhat similar to Stefen Heyne’s The Noise, that the accompanying photographs are the equivalence of visual “noise”.

The book is a progression of black and white photographs, one per page, of places that could be close to home. The photographs seem to be of locations that could be a common everyday experience; the front entrance of a dwelling, the interior living room and a tight detail of a kitchen, room windows with curtains or plants on the window sill, and someone doing something at a desk. The other photographs are related to experiencing one’s life; traveling in an urban place, at a sporting event, meeting someone at a restaurant and events that occur on the street as we pass by. Maybe not a common experience is a baby lying in a hospital bed with a protruding Intravenous Vein (IV) set, but there are unfortunately experiences of a hospital environment while a family member or friend was ill and needed extensive care.

Hyunjin is exploring what goes on beyond the surface of what was heard while making these photographs, as to the memory of related events. These are photographs that Hynjin created, but I can only surmise what was heard while the event was photographed. That requires tapping into a personal memory bank of visual events with a linkage to the sounds that were occurring. A reminder that experiencing life is to also experience a canopy of sensory inputs; touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste.

Like the previous Farewell book, this book is also better thought of as a booklet, as the 24 pages are saddle stitched (stapled) with a soft cover (same cover stock as the interior pages), the pages are a medium weight, thus a bit fragile and susceptible to ear marking and fraying damage.  The photographs are printed in Black and White by offset printing. The matte paper does not provide really deep blacks to the photographs, giving the images a smaller contrast range.

by Douglas Stockdale

October 3, 2008

Simon Roberts on Editing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 7:45 pm

Another little gem that Jorg Colberg pointed me to, was the article that Simon Roberts had complied about editing, both about his recent book Motherland (Russia) and about the process of editing in general. A thoughtful & recommended read for those who are wrestling with the process of editing one’s larger body of work into something meaningful.

I had been following Roberts work as I like his writings about photographing the “social” landscape, but I had missed this article.

Best regards, Doug Stockdale

Gregory Crewdson – Beneath the Roses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug Stockdale @ 7:31 pm

Jorg Colberg recently wrote (here) about Gregory Crewdson’s book, Beneath the Roses over on his blog Conscientious. I believe that Jorg is a bigger fan of Crewdson that I am, but I feel that Jorg gets the uneasy undercurrent I feel with Crewdson’s work, and Beneath the Roses in particular.

Best regards, Doug Stockdale

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at


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