A photographic journey up the coast of California which aims to represent my vision of Californian identity.
In 2010 I traveled to the west coast for the first time – driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway from Seattle to San Francisco. Along the way I was impressed with the differences and nuances that make a coastline unique. However, it wasn't until I entered California that I felt a true connection with the landscape. It’s hard to describe how a physical place can exert a power over you, but when it does it’s unmistakable.
What is it about this place that makes me feel at home? What is California really like? I need to find out.
I need to experience California as an explorer without a map. My goal is to create a body of work that represents the individuals who call the Pacific coast home. On the surface, it's a documentary project about the physical landscape and the people who inhabit it. At the core of the project is the notion of Californian identity.
I love hearing stories told by people I barely know. I believe everyone has something to share and I want to act as the voice to his or her tale. My ideal situation has me venturing up the coast, stopping in every little town or city, meeting someone, spending some time with them, photographing them and documenting their stories. Using a combination of portraits, landscapes and still life imagery, I hope to create a subjective representation of the California coast. I work in the mold photographic artists such as Robert Frank, Stephen Shore and Alec Soth. These photographers let the open road determine the path their projects took and I plan on doing the same.
I am an outsider to Californian culture and it’s history. Having been born in Toronto and lived there my entire life, I am approaching this area with fresh eyes. This project is about individuals that make up a place, but it's also about me as an individual craving companionship in an unknown place.
With the help of the Kickstarter community, I will able be to complete this project. My fundraising goal sits at $2500. Donations will contribute to the cost of producing this project (flight, rental car, film, processing & printing). I have outlined various rewards on the right hand side for people who are interested in donating to this project. With your help I will be able to document my journey to the California coast and share the stories of others with you and the rest of the Kickstarter community.
Please feel free to view additional pieces of my work at my website, www.neil-fenton.com
I will fly down to San Diego and rent a car. From there I will travel northern California, then drive back to San Francisco and fly out. My plan is to take 16 days to shoot my project. Having done a couple of trips in the past, this should be plenty of time to complete my project.
In 2008 I traveled from Toronto to Salt Lake City by car. In 2010 I traveled from Seattle to San Francisco. And in 2011 I traveled from Toronto to Austin, TX. This will be my fourth road trip of this length. I have also done several smaller trips inside Ontario and Quebec.
I photograph in a style similar to Stephen Shore, looking for banal, familiar imagery. Before any road trip project, I take time to study the areas I am visiting. I study guidebooks for tourist hot spots, history books for historical locations and also maps to get a sense of the physical geography.
In the end when I am out shooting, a lot of the images are taken on a whim, based on certain surroundings, nice light or whatever. I can’t completely explain my shooting process but there is a lot of thought put into my images. It’s both a combination of information I’ve consumed in the past and what is happening right then and there as I click the shutter.
I will be connecting with people via social media, such as Twitter and Craigslist. I have used these in the past to find local subjects interested in posing for me. I will also meet people randomly. I find random interaction occurs often when traveling because your social barriers seem to disappear.
I have a goal of returning with at least 200 4x5” frames. During my last trip to the coast I was able to shoot 80 frames, which resulted in about 10 great photos. I want to have a body of work that is around 30-40 strong images.
I will send out rewards that use past images immediately upon return from my trip. Rewards that use images from this trip will have to wait a few more weeks for processing and printing.
I will use both this website and my personal site, www.neil-fenton.com to blog about my trip. I will be limited to using images from an iPhone on the road because I will be using film to capture the project images.
I will use a combination of personal funds and Kickstarter funds in order to complete my trip. My actual costs are projected to be about double my fund raising goal.
My goal is to showcase the work in an exhibition or to create a book. But I will wait until the end of the trip to decide what I will do with the work.
pledged of $2,500 goal
seconds to go
Sep 15, 2011 - Oct 25, 2011 (40 days)
Pledge $5 or more
A postcard of an image made on the road and mailed to youEstimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $25 or more
A postcard from the road plus a 8 x 10 inch chromogenic print of image #1 located on the leftEstimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $65 or more
A postcard from the road plus a set of 3, 8 x 10 inch chromogenic prints, one of each of the images located on the leftEstimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $150 or more
3 backers Limited (12 of 15 left)
A postcard from the road plus a signed, limited edition 11 x 14 inch print of your choice from the left side (each edition is of 10)Estimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $300 or more
2 backers Limited (8 of 10 left)
A postcard from the road and a signed, limited edition 16 x 20 inch print of your choice from the left hand side (each edition is of 10)Estimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $550 or more
1 backer Limited (4 of 5 left)
A postcard from the road and a signed, limited edition 16 x 20 inch prints of the three images located on the left side (each edition is of 10)Estimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $700 or more
0 backers Limited (3 of 3 left)
A postcard from the road, a generous letter thanking you and three signed, limited edition 16 x 20 inch prints of your choice from my website (each image is edition of 10)Estimated delivery: Jan 2012
Pledge $1,200 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
A postcard from the road, a generous letter thanking you and a 30x40” mono edition photo of your choice from my website.Estimated delivery: Jan 2012