Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The art of darkness

BC Waterfall, from the Foundations Folio
© Doug Stockdale, used with permission

Last week I received my copy of Doug Stockdale's Foudations Folio - a collection of 12 prints from his earlier pre-digital landscape work. Looking at the prints and the overall folio, a couple of interesting things struck me.

Before that, why did I buy the folio? 2 reasons - I like Doug's work and this was a great way to get some prints in my hands and I wanted to get hold of some high-quality prints as a sort of benchmark to work towards in my own work.

The first of the things that struck me about this work is the incredible way the tonal range has been "stretched" while retaining subtle detail in both the highlights and shadows. It's clear that a lot of effort has gone into producing these prints and ensuing careful control of the details. I'm also impressed with the way darkness is used to great effect (hence the post title). While it is not always the appropriate thing to do, where Doug uses the effect it is highly appropriate.
Often I find prints on fine art paper like this appear lifeless but these prints have great life and 3 dimensional quality as well as being very tactile objects.

The other thing that struck me is what a great format a well constructed folio is for presenting photographic work. I have the combined advantages of quantity of prints that comes with a book together with the quality that comes with individual prints and at a reasonable price. Doug ha also put together a great package including index prints, notes, colophon etc which brings the whole together. While these are diverse subjects the supporting material and the consistent style add up to a unified product that is very nicely presented.
I think this is a format of presentation that more artists should consider: a great way to get quality product into the hands of reasonable numbers of people.


  1. Thanks for your wonderful comments. I like to think that I have put the neccessary effort into each of these images to create a great set of prints and a fitting presentation.

  2. You're welcome - quality work deserves recognition.


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