Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So, now what?

Today was the deadline for our fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com. If you pledged money to the project, then you may already know that we were unsuccessful. So now what? Let's first discuss the campaign.

A HUGE debt of gratitude is owed to the numerous backers who pledged. Your support meant so much to me and the dancers involved. We had backers from all over the world, and that was truly amazing and inspiring.

Ultimately I think our inability to raise the whole amount of money came down to not getting the word out. Facebook pages, emails and phone calls only go so far, I think the major failure was in not getting out and meeting with key people in the community in person. Of the people that I did speak with in person and the people who came to meetings, the excitement was there. That excitement led to pledges. I just didn't reach enough people.

Another part of it may have been the amount. It was an ambitious goal, and I knew that going in. My ace in the hole was the dance community itself, and as mentioned before, I failed to get in front of the people who would be interested and would pledge.

So, now what?

I said from the very beginning that if the Kickstarter campaign failed, that it would not mean the end of the project. Too many people have put in too much work to let it go.  So the short of it is: The project WILL GO ON!

The failure of the Kickstarter campaign was a bummer, but it in a sense it was a little bit freeing. No doubt if the campaign had succeeding, the project would have been much easier to complete. With that money we would have been able to rent studio space and shoot A LOT of dancers at one time. We were also planning on hiring a video editor to help with the video content, as well as print books and prints for all the dancers involved.

The other side of that coin is that if the campaign had succeeded, I would have spent a lot of time and effort on printing, packaging, and shipping rewards for the backers. Much of the final budget would have been dedicated to that as well.

So to boil it down, here are some key changes to the project:

1. The project will take longer to complete. Without the money to shoot in a large photography studio and the budget to hire some help, things will definitely be paced differently.

2. Once all the content is produced, the books will most likely be printed through an online print-on-demand service.

3. In order to help fund some of the costs of doing the project, prints and other items will be made available for purchase through Etsy.com and arts and craft shows. As of now you can buy a print of the shot titled "Victoria" at my wife's Etsy shop, Etheloo's.

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/99905619/victoria-dancer-art-print

So that's that. Again, a huge thanks to those who backed the project. I hope you all will continue to be excited about this project and continue to support us.



  1. There's a reason you didn't get funded, and it's because the photographs aren't any good. They are empty, boring, and largely reminiscent of an iPod commercial. Dance and photography are two amazing mediums that have the ability to affect us deeply on an emotional level, and you've given us dramaless dreck. It failed. Move on. You can do better. It's not incredible art. You know it.

    How many photo books have you actually purchased yourself? The average person has less than one book of art photography. You're competing with that. That's how difficult this is. You've got to be a hero for all of us and do something better. Don't be satisfied with the unsophisticated and people who think they are better than you who congratulate you on your art as if they were your mother pinning your work to a fridge. Do better. Wake up. Do a project that takes you somewhere you never imagined when you started.

    If I ever see something like that from you, I'll throw as much money at it as I can.

    1. Just in case you didn't get notified that I responded.

  2. When you reveal yourself as a legitimate critic and not just another of the millions of keyboard warriors who hide behind anonymous usernames on the internet, I'll consider taking to heart your comment.

  3. I'm not sure what you're looking for. What does my anonymity have to do with my position as a consumer of art? I believe I have been fair and honest in my response, and if, to you, the response seemed like some kind of keyboard warrior maliciousness, then I won't be able to solve your problem by giving you my real name.

    Let's say you see a photo I've taken or read a poem I've written and decide it's no good. Does that mean that what I've said isn't true? If you find out that I went to an Ivy League university and that my opinions about photography are influenced by study with working photographers, one being a two-time Guggenheim recipient, does that really matter? I don't think it should. That Guggenheim recipient himself has said things I disagree with, and my likelihood of agreeing with him is entirely independent of how many photography books he has made.

    You don't even have to believe me. Look up "the importance of failure" on Google, or watch the Michael Jordan commercial about failure on YouTube. Ask yourself why it's more interesting to watch someone walk a tightrope 30 feet in the air instead of 2 feet off the ground. Do you know of any musicians, directors or writers whose art has suffered because they 'played it safe' and produced exactly what was expected of them? Then consider something a bit more complex, look into why Bob Dylan 'went electric,' and ask yourself if that was a success or a failure, or maybe both at the same time. Why didn't he just keep making what everyone wanted.

    That can lead us into artistic control. Consider whether he had some kind of overarching plan. How in control of the situation was he? Have you ever read a book where the writer's hand suddenly appeared and forced the plot along in an unnatural way? Could this have been because the writer already had a pre-conceived idea about where things were going and didn't allow his work to grow organically interesting?

    I have a white paper backdrop with a stand and a few monolights and live in a city filled with great dancers. If I decide to photograph them, what makes your work offer something that mine doesn't? Do you have something to offer me, can you give me something I can't or won't do for myself. I think you can. I think it's possible, but that it's incredibly difficult in a way that has almost nothing to do with you likely reading an incident light meter better than I do. I hope you think that "silhouettes," isn't enough of a differentiation on its own. Although photography isn't a great narrative medium, it can do more than mere illustration. Photography can use metaphor and symbols: it can argue beauty; it can convey drama. A photograph of children laughing can appear to be about joy, but then on closer inspection be about how laughter is destructive.

    Here's a photograph in silhouette- http://grantorbetaphotography.com/Future_memories/2012/blog/files/muncaksi-three-boys-at-a-lake.jpg

    Sure, just like your dance photos, it conveys movement frozen in time, it conveys beauty of the human form. But then it does more than that. There's a kind of electricity, an energy from it. The viewer is rushing behind the boys, that is, you and I are running with them. We are running into this crashing energy of the lake, from land into water. Stare at it for a bit, what is it about? Why is the frame where it is?

    Then figure out how the hell you can put yourself in a situation in the studio where one of your photos would evoke something like that one. When you edit, fight the urge to just 'hope' that something works, be sure of it. If you can do that for me, you're my hero, and, like I said earlier, I'll be an eager customer.