The project Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra is comprised of American Southwest urban landscape photographs that were inspired by recent political changes in the United States. Although initially conceptualized as a political satire and parody of Donald Trump’s “bigly” wall on the United States’ southern border, this project developed to symbolically represent the greater political, economic, social, and cultural barriers people construct to separate themselves from others. The physical walls pictured reference psychological, conceptual, and systemic barriers people construct to dissociate from others — barriers that serve to prevent acceptance and impede interpersonal connection.
— Douglas Stockdale, Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Ciociaria is an urban landscape project that developed over a period of a year while I was in and out of a region in central Italy known as Ciociaria. What intrigued me was finding out that this region was not well-defined and better yet, lacked a known history, thus ripe for my personal investigation. My goal then became to investigate the memory of this place, which is a recurrent theme that recently has been taking on more significance for me.
My earlier landscape projects were topographical in style, urban landscapes devoid of any individuals, which was starting to feel very sterile. Yet I did not want to move to a reportage or documentary style and feel any responsibilities to exactitude, as I frequently edit the content of my photographs. So I attempted to bridge the two with a banal or neutral observation of the human-altered landscape and introduce individual subjects into the edges of the frame.
I was seeking, as Karen Jenkins, one of my book reviewers, stated so elegantly, “places where the strange becomes familiar and the familiar strange.” This was a region unlike my home in Southern California, with differences in language, customs and culture, yet I found that I could obtain a sense of what was occurring in my presence — but I was never sure.
— Douglas Stockdale, Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA