Travel Inspired Print Series
Last week was one of the toughest of my entire life, emotionally speaking anyway. I had to watch the rapid decline in the health of my little boy Trouble, who eventually succumbed to his illness at 5:30 Saturday morning. Fortunately, I was already up and was by his side until the very end. At only 6 years old, I thought he would be in my life for years to come, and has left behind a void in my life that will never be filled again. He will be dearly missed.
Before Trouble became too ill, I was making some progress in the preparation for my crowdfunding campaign but had to park it once he became too unwell. In this short window, I managed to make the final selection for the images in the series, finalize budgets, work on most of the literature and begin working on a promotional video for the campaign. Progress had been very good, but Trouble became the center of my attention; with his passing, I now look forward to the distraction of my work to ease the pain of this great loss.
Writing the story and narrative of the project hasn't been too difficult, but the most challenging part is making it clear that I am not looking for a handout. In a recent discussion with a friend about the project, I struggled to convey the purpose of the crowdfunding, which has forced me to think harder about how I explain my reasoning in my narrative to increase my chances of succeeding. Yes, I have been financially crippled by veterinary bills over the past few months, but my intention has never been to make this a charitable affair.
The whole purpose of the crowdfunding campaign (often referred to as the 'Marillion Business Method' after the band pioneered its use) is to offer the opportunity to others to buy into a creators work before it is released, that way the project owner is raising funds to make the project happen in the first place.
My use of crowdfunding is not to make a profit, but to facilitate the purchase of stock and packing materials so that I may reward backers of the campaign and stock my other online stores. It's through the sale of my prints after the campaign has ended that I intend to make my profit. If I were able to fund the project myself, I would, but right now I am unable to. So, do I offer the work early and fund the project, or let it die? Is this charity, or just good business sense?
Getting the narrative right has been challenging, but the hardest parts of the campaign for me have been the selection of the images to go into the series, and the promotional video. The video is most important as it is what most people will use initially to learn about the campaign, and it is said that projects with a good video are around 30% more likely to succeed than those without.
To date, I have zero filming experience, the full extent of which has been two short clips I put on my Instagram story when out shooting at A New Day festival last year. Filming anything is a totally different set of skills to that pf taking still images, and requires a whole new raft of skills and equipment, so I have had to give this some serious thought if I stand a chance of producing something that looks polished.
There's a lot of information to cover in the video, such as my personal story and the details of the project so I have written a script to keep myself on track and cover all of the important points. I don't have a glamorous studio to shoot in, so I'm settling for my living room/kitchen. Lighting is not great for filming, but I did stumble upon an LED spotlight and bracket that came with a camera accessory set I bought years ago, it needed some new batteries but will work a treat.
I'm looking for a 'Netflix Documentary Interview' style appearance interjected with slides of my work. I've got two cameras, so intend to shoot a wide shot straight on me, and a side on portrait shot to provide some variation to the footage. From my old radio days, I still have a microphone, stand and pop filter which I can plug into my camera for clearer sound.
Before things got bad with Trouble, I had a chance to do some test footage, work different angles and try the script. This was painfully difficult but progress was being made slowly. The one day that would have been perfect conditions for filming, as the script had been perfected and the lighting conditions were ideal, I managed to pick up a delightful lobster complexion whilst out at work during the heatwave we had; not the best look on camera.
So filming is currently on hold, but should not take too much longer now when I get set up and back into the full swing of things again. I have decided to launch the campaign for the month of September, which gives me a whole month to drum up support and complete the campaign materials, which should be plenty of time to get it right.
Then there was choosing the final set of image for the series. I had a brief by which to appraise the images for the campaign but was still yet to choose the final photos. Appraising my own work is something I find extremely difficult; I know what I like visually, and obviously, know the story behind every shot, but trying to find the right images that are visually appealing to others really challenges me.
The brief for this project is to produce a set of images that I feel are a testimony to my journey progressing from someone who was not al that well-traveled to the man, and the photographer I am today. To ensure the images appealed to as wide an audience as possible, I did not want them to be too location-specific, but more hint or suggest the destinations so that they could be enjoyed by anyone, not just those with a connection to the place they represent for me.
I had already settled on the first image which I covered in my blog back in April when the project was limited to a single image, but now with a larger the range, I had to choose from my extensive portfolio further images that could be included in this series.
After a lot of careful consideration and careful management of my brief, the final selection of images being offered are as follows:
Taken in the temple of Ta Prohm in the Angkor complex, it could have been taken anywhere but at the same time offering a unique perspective of an otherwise well-documented location. The site is visited by thousands every day, with this being the setting for the Tomb Raider film, so it is difficult to find unique perspectives.
This image has proved very popular and looks exceptional when printed with a painting like an appearance.
This glorious city is suggested in this simple street photography image depicting the Hungarian Parliament building in the distance. This shot was the first selected and one of my favorites because of the mystery surrounding the shadowy figure.
I find that there is a lot to explore in the image, and the eye has the opportunity to explore the image and discover elements such as the architecture and the tram hidden in the shadows.
Capturing unique perspectives of London are challenging as it is photographed constantly. I set out on this day with a view to capturing the docklands area to include in my LDN portfolio, seeking to capture unique shots of my home city that would otherwise go unnoticed.
I was captivated by this derelict building at the Royal Victoria docks, especially when juxtaposed by the outbound aircraft from City Airport a little behind it. It took around 2-3 hours to get the positioning of the aircraft just right and complete the shot I had in mind.
This simple shot of an elephant taken in a sanctuary in Laos has sparked controversy in the past. Many see this as an animal in captivity, but the truth is that this poor animal had suffered serious injury from a land mine and was being looked after exceptionally well and was happily having his lunch. The wooden pole in the foreground is not an enclosure, but the upright pole of the feeding station that I was stood upon.
Visiting this beautiful city in November proved challenging as it was adorned with Christmas decorations and the weather was somewhat gloomy. This shot stood out to me because of the mysterious nature of the well-dressed man, engrossed in peeling a label from the handle of a golf club.
This image has the weakest connection to its destination but is a reminder that with travel photography it is just as important to capture the people as it is to capture the sites of a destination.
This stunning shot of a local fisherman at sunrise perfectly illustrates a part of life in the Cuban capital. Having risen early to shoot the coastline at sunrise, I saw this perfect opportunity to continue shooting as the locals went about their day, the American classics humming on the main road behind me.
Located at the very end of the Malecon, the shot takes in the sweeping coastline of the city, and yet does not specifically speak of the city itself making it an ideal condidate for this serise.
There are many images that come to mind when you think of Paris, but this isn't necessarily one of them. Rising early to climb the hill up to the Sacre Coeur at sunrise, I spied this broken street lamp just as the rising sun was due to pass through the gap left in the broken glass.
The rooftops of the city can be seen beyond, but again, you wouldn't automatically recognize this image as Paris.
Keen observers and followers of my work will note that there are 7 images above when I had initially sought to release 6. During the final selection process, I just couldn't decide which of the images out of these selection to drop, so instead went for the 7. With the final selection made, it's now time to ramp up work on the campaign and get this project off the ground.
During August I shall be completing the campaign materials ready for the September launch. The platform for the campaign has yet to be chosen but is likely to either be Kickstarter or Indiegogo where each of these prints will be offered to backers of this project.
A big thank you to everyone that has already pledged their support to this campaign, this really means a lot and does give me great confidence that I may meet my funding goal. If you want to get involved, there is still plenty of time so do not worry. The campaign progress will be well documented on my Facebook page so feel free to drop a like there to stay up to date with developments as they unfold.
I'm very keen to gauge opinion on the images chosen, so let me know in the comments below which are your favorites.
Until next time,