A panoramic portrait, DVD and book project exploring the relationship between Americans and their living environment.
**UPDATE** - I have decided to throw a launch party in New York if American Vista is successful. Anyone who donates is invited. Check the updates section for more details, and I'll post updates on the American Vista Facebook and Twitter pages as well.
Hello Kickstarter. My name is James Trory and I am a documentary photographer living in New York.
As with most creative types I work for very little money, am starving to death, and am always daydreaming about doing my first really big project. Something that when completed people will say, yeah that rocks, I want to be this guy's friend.
"American Vista" is a project that I have concocted rather like a tasty mixed beverage - lots of components that work well together and were combined slightly by accident. The basic premise is that I will travel for 8 weeks through the heart of America, from New York to Los Angeles, photographing panoramic landscapes and portraits of all the wonderful people I meet in cities, towns and villages using primarily seat-of-my-pants detective work. In other words, I will stop at as many places as I possibly can along the way and speak with the locals about where to go and who to see, to try and get a feel for what makes things tick in that particular neck of the woods.
Here's the itinerary:
- New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Los Angeles. A good mix of locations, lots of variation.
To try and make the project more than simply an awesome looking photographic essay, I will conduct digitally recorded interviews with everyone I meet and photograph, as well as keep a video diary of my journey. These two things I will edit together with the photos to produce a DVD of the project.
I'll also keep a written journal of my adventure which upon my return I will fashion into a roughly 50-page self-published travel narrative which will also include select pages from the hand-written diary. Think Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Dave Eggers - those are my influences. I know I can put pen to paper and produce something humorous and engaging. As an oft sarcastic, highly observant Englishman, I have the benefit of being a foreigner and at the same time a seasoned American of 10 years who still has yet to completely wrap his head around this amazing and bizarre country.
Ideally I would love to print a photo book for everyone, but then it's getting REALLY expensive. The size of the panoramas makes printing to a small book kind of pointless, and a big book will cost a lot. Perhaps if I can raise enough that will change. I'll keep you posted.
Now you may wonder, what on earth is he talking about? Good question. Well it goes something like this. After a flash of genius last summer while visiting my family in England I began to develop a technique whereby I take multiple exposures and combine them in Photoshop to create panoramic images. I've spent months continuing this idea in New York, photographing people I know and complete strangers. It's a laborious process but as you can see the results are worth it (click the thumbs for larger images).
But I have run into a self-realized problem, which is that while New York is a wonderful city, the panoramic format cannot be stopped. It's becoming a monster and it needs feeding. And I've come to the conclusion that what will satisfy its rumbling tummy is more diverse locations.
On top of that (this now coming from a documentary photographer) I think there is more to these panoramas than just aesthetic quality. I feel as though they are identifying a curiously quiet relationship between a person and their environment that traditional photography can't do. America is such a fascinating kaleidoscope of culture, history and politics (amongst other things) that it seems only natural to me that I could explore this bond more beautifully and thoroughly by traveling with these panoramas, visiting hugely diverse locations that when viewed as a collection will expose more clearly the fascinating and varied ways of life in America, from New York to Louisiana, Colorado to Los Angeles.
I want to create something big that will be all-encompassing, that people can feel involved in - prints, a DVD, and a book, all of which when combined will create a rounded experience, a captivating and engaging look into American society in a truly unique way. Your pledges will go towards my travel expenses, as well as all of the post-production work, the manufacturing of the book, DVDs and prints, and the shipping and packaging costs.
My promise to you is that I will pour everything I have into this and make it the very best work I have ever produced. I am proposing a lot of work for myself, but I am intent on not doing it half-assed. It is, after all, my neck on the professional chopping block if I don't do a good job, and that's no fun. I take this very seriously. It is my chance to finally complete a bold and exciting project that not only means something to me, but will have lasting value to a lot of other people as well, and that is very exciting.
Check out my progress on American Vista and view other panoramas from the New York series.
And finally, thank you for your support. Even if I don't make my goal, the fact that anyone is willing to help try and make this happen with me means a great deal.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
seconds to go
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
NEW! An invitation to the American Vista launch party. As well as the old standard - my eternal gratitude and a mention on the American Vista website, plus password access to an exclusive blog that I will post to while on the road, including updates on my current location.
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
The above, plus a PDF copy of the book "American Vista", a travel narrative that will also include pages from my hand-written diary and select photos from the project.
Pledge $35 or moreYou selected
The above, plus the DVD that will include all the hi-res pictures from the project, interviews and my video diary.
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
The password access, plus both the DVD and the printed book, delivered to your door by Gorillagram (maybe not the last part).
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
As above, plus a signed, limited edition 44" wide print of your choosing, printed by me (no labs!) on professional quality archival paper.
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
The above, plus a second signed 44" wide print of your choice, advanced copies of the book and DVD, a personal thank you in both, and the chance to review the book manuscript and give me your thoughts.
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)
All of the above, plus the chance to be photographed as part of the project (and to meet yours truly). Limited to United States residents only. Email me with your location and we'll figure something out. You will also get a third signed print of the one I take of you.
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
Everything, as well as a signed, hardcover copy of a highly prized "American Vista" photo book that I will have made just for you. These will be limited only to a couple of copies, one for you and one for me.
- (60 days)