An update on this project and what I've been up to is long overdue, and I apologize for not posting one sooner. While I've been making steady progress, there hasn't been any real "news". This update is really more of a blog entry, but I hope that you'll take a moment to read it.
This year has been a challenging one, so far. Business has been very slow and so I have had to get creative in order to keep the bills paid and food on the table. In addition to my house sitting, I've also been doing some short term pet sitting. As there are no pets at my regular residence, it has been a nice to visit places like Couch #47, and spend some time with Molly and Knuckles(see photos below). In March, I had the pleasure of working with my friend Larry, and his company, Socket Events. Socket was in charge of installing and removing the signage for the Los Angeles Marathon(see photo below). I drove the truck and helped their team complete their work. We worked long hours, and it was exhausting, but it was nice to work outside and give my muscles a bit of a workout. I've also continued to sort through my belongings and get rid of that which I no longer need. I've been digging through boxes, selling everything on ebay, amazon, and craigslist. Lately, it's been my comic book collection. It's a been a slow process, but I'm enjoying going through my past, letting go of it, and reducing the amount of stuff that have. I've operated with a minimal amount of things for a while now, and I really want my surroundings to represent that. All of this work has brought important things into my life, reminding me of the pleasure of a cat curled up next to you, the value of friends, and the joy in simplicity. It has also helped me to restore some balance which has been absent from my life. However, the internet sales have required a great deal of effort, for a minimal amount of profit. Add in some uncertainty about my living situation, and a bout with the flu, and I've had very little money or spare time for social activities, or artistic pursuits. I can't remember a time when I've worked this hard, spent so much time alone at home, and managed to live on such a small budget. Yet, I find myself very grateful for everything that has come my way. I'm eating healthier, feeling better, and I've lost a few pounds already this year. My long-term house sitting situation was extended and may be extended again. It's a comfortable place, with hummingbirds buzzing and roses blooming (see photos below), making being such a homebody pretty easy. So, despite these challenges, I have managed to keep my head above water, if only just barely, and keep a smile on my face, even when I'm not quite sure how the ends are going to meet.
I've also been able to move 50 Couches in 50 Nights forward, little by little. With financial matters ruling the day, at best, I find myself splitting my time between chasing money and chasing my dreams. Most of what free time I can carve out, I've dedicated towards this project. I'm always working to make better use of that time and be more efficient with my resources. This week, order was restored a bit, and I was able to put more effort into the 50 Couches in 50 Nights book. I'm hopeful that this is a new trend, and that along with it, my financial situation will improve soon, allowing me more time to work on this project. Whether that income will be from wedding, commercial, or artistic photography work, from more profitable online sales, increased pet sitting work, or some other source, such fine art sales, remains to be seen. Regardless of how much time or money, I do have, I will continue my work on the 50 Couches in 50 Nights book as much as I can. At this point, I've completed the editing and layout for 35 of the couches. 7 more are edited, but still need a quick polish and the layout done. 8 others still need to be edited and have the layout put together. I've also begun to play around the writing that I want to include. Progress is being made, and the more progress that I make, the more dedicated I become to completing this book. Quite a bit is done, but there's still more to do. I'm anxious to get it done as soon as possible, which makes being pulled away to deal with these financial challenges all the more frustrating. But, come hell or high water, this book will be completed. This is book is only the first step in a larger plan for my career and my life, and I've invested far too much to let a few challenges deter me now. In fact, they've only emboldened me. So, I ask that you please be patient with me as I sail through these rough waters, and I thank you for your continued support.
For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
Happy New Year!
2012 brought great strides in this project and in my photographic work. I was hired to shoot images of a gallery for their website, sold some fine art photographic prints, and was hired to take the "after" photos for home renovation television show. I also shot the baby shower for a Daytime Emmy Award winning actress, as well photographing her in the nursery that she designed and put together. Some of those images were published (see below). I was also very honored to photograph the wedding of a good friend in Joshua Tree, and another of an old co-worker in Manhattan Beach (see below)
And, every spare moment, I worked on this project. With the help of a number of friends, I was able to put together this Kickstarter fundraiser together, and with your help, it was successful. Not only did it raise some funds to cover costs that I would not be able to pay upfront by myself, but it raised the profile of the project. One of the portraits was featured in the ArtistsWanted (now See.me) 2011 One Life competition catalog. Another group of the photos of the couches was named among the finalists in the 2012 One Life competition. The project was featured in an article on LAist.com, and was mentioned on AFAR's "What We're Reading" blog. One Giant Arm also featured some of the photos their blog, and CouchSurfing.org, promoted the project on their facebook page.
Nearly every day, I've dedicated some time working on 50 Couches in 50 Nights. Doing a variety tasks to keep moving the project forward and complete the book. has proved to be much more time consuming than I had originally anticipated. Sorting through the sheer multitude of photos has been slow, deliberate, and wonderful task. My skills in polishing these images have improved greatly since this project began, and many of the photos you may have seen on Facebook or flickr are much more pleasing to the eye than when I first shared them. Some of these improved versions, as well as well as other images, which have yet to be shared with the public, may not even be shown until they are printed. I've been posting some "new" images to facebook, flickr, and tumblr, as I go along, but this is just a taste of what's to come. In addition to making the photos shine, deciding which of these images makes the cut and ends up in the book has also been a challenging task. They all hold a special place in my heart, but, unfortunately, not even all of the "good" ones will make it in. In fact, in the process of going through everything, I'm already seeing a number of smaller, more focused books in the future. Imagine a book featuring just all the pets that I encountered, or people's refrigerator doors. Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Completing the layout for the two pages which I've allotted to each couch has involved deciding which photos best tell the core story of the night, as well as which photos simply work well together. Sometimes a color palette reveals itself. Other times, a pattern emerges from the subject matter. This usually involves some trial and error and some re-working of the images. Many nights will feature a handful of photos, but others will have maybe a dozen. Some may have simply two photos, and even a couple, so far, have a single image telling the story of my night on that couch. This isn't at all how I had originally envisioned the book. It's so much more honest and much better.
Making all of these decisions proved difficult in the past and much of the work I completed prior to this year has been put aside. It just wasn't good enough. But this year, while it has been a slow process, it has also been much more rewarding than I could have imagined. I'm so very pleased with how the book is shaping up. It's a vision that just doesn't play out in a blog, facebook posting, or even a tumblr page. So far, I've edited the photos and completed the layout for 25 of the 50 couches. I've also edited the photos for another 12 of the couches, and they will need another quick polish and the layout completed. The last 13 still need to be edited and have the layout completed. My overly optimistic hope is to have that all ready by the end of January. I'm eager to get this portion of the work done. Once that is done, there's still captions and the "statistics" of each night to write up. The photos will tell the bulk of the story, with a few words sewing together the pieces. There will also need to be a cover designed, an introduction written, and some other details attended to. Much of this other work is already in the planning stages. I will also be asking each of my backers to pick from a selection of photos that didn't make the cut. The best of these will be featured in a special "Backer's Choice" section of the book. Of course, in addition to the book, there are rewards to send out as well, and once I make more progress, I will dedicate time to getting those created and delivered. While I mentioned that I hope to have the layout completed by the end of the month, that obviously depends upon any other work that may arise in the meantime. I will, nonetheless, work to keep you better informed as to my progress, and share some previews more often. Believe me, as excited as you are to see the finished book, I'm that much more anxious to have it completed and share it with you! As always, should you have any questions please do not hesistate to reach out to me. Whether you are a friend or a stranger , I enjoy hearing from you.
Thank you for your patience and continued support.
I hope that you had an excellent holiday season and are starting off the new year right.
While I'm focused with work on the "50 Couches in 50 Nights" coffee table book, I'm not going to be posting many updates here. However, I am working on the project nearly every day and adding new content to some of your favorite social network sites such as...
(simply click on the name of the site and a new window open and take you there)
Facebook - I add new photos here first as well as post photos featuring couches, celebrities, and humor. If you are on facebook, please check it out and "like" it.
Flickr - I add new photos here too, and everything is organized neatly and orderly by each night. Please add me as a contact.
Tumblr - Perhaps my favorite presentation of the project. I add new photos to the mosaic here as well. Please follow me there.
Twitter - This carries the feeds from the Facebook page as well as Tumblr. Follow me on here to keep up on everything.
Instagram - You'll have to find this one the old fashioned way. Search for me as "eveldeanmackay" which carries photos of the "50 Couches in 50 Nights" project, personal photos, as well as an occasional pic from my alter-ego "Evel Dean"
Of course, I can also be reached via email at Dean@50Couchesin50Nights.com
Once the book is ready, or when I have some other news to report, I'll be sure to let you know.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
seconds to go
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
THE PILLOW: all donations receive my eternal gratitude, a thank you on my blog, get on my email list for project updates and previews, plus you'll be able to vote on which photos I'll include in a section of the book!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
THE BLANKET: all donations of $10 or more receive an exclusive postcard, mailed to you with a personal note from me.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
THE LOVE SEAT: a 4x6 limited edition signed printEstimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
THE SOFA: a set of five (5) exclusive post cards, a 4x6 limited edition signed print, and a thank you in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
THE COUCH: The standard. The 10 x 8 hard cover book, signed and numbered, as well as an 8 x10 limited edition signed print, plus a thank you in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
THE CHESTERFIELD: The biggest and the best. A deluxe large 13 x 11 linen hard cover book printed on the highest quality paper - available only to kickstarter supporters - personally inscribed to you and numbered, as well as a unique 8 x 10 signed print, and a special thank you in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
THE DAYBED: A set of three (3) unique 11 x 14 prints. Plus, the deluxe 13 x 11 book, and a special thank you in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
THE DIVAN: The Full Couch Experience! I spend the night on your couch!* You get to experience what my hosts did including photos of your couch, portraits of you and your home, and an video interview by me. Plus the deluxe 13 x 11 book, a unique 8 x 10 print, and a special thank you in the book. *Dean actually sleeping on your couch is optional.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $750 or moreYou selected
THE CONVERTIBLE: I'll take you on a driving tour of some of the places that I stayed in around Los Angeles and maybe, just maybe, we'll even get to go inside some of them. Fingers crossed. You might want to bring your camera. Plus you'll get the deluxe 13 x 11 book, a unique 8 x 10 print, and a special thank you in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
THE DAVENPORT: Like good food? I'll come to your home and cook a gourmet dinner for you and (4) guests and entertain you with stories from the couch. I'll even take a few pictures to commemorate the event. Plus you'll get the deluxe 13 x 11 book for yourself and a 10 x 8 hardcover book for each of your guests, as well as an unique 11 x 14 print, and a special dedication in the book.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
THE SECTIONAL: Road Trip! A weekend photo experience on-location with me. This includes two shooting days at a location of your choosing, one-on-one with me, including any advice, tips, and bad jokes I have. This also includes film, processing, and scanning, as well as digital shots. I'll even assist with the editing. All of this work will result in the printing and framing of two (2) or your images. Also included is the deluxe 13 x 11 book, an unique 11 x 14 print, and special dedication in the book.Estimated delivery:
- (50 days)