An out gay man and ex-evangelist confronts his 'Jesus Days' past with color pictures and text in this one-of-a-kind/fold-out art Zine.
WHAT IS 'Jesus Days'?
'Jesus Days' is a Kodachrome diary from the late 70s and early 80s. http://www.vice.com/read/jesus-days-1978-1983 During those years, I was a young born-again Christian working as a Youth Minister and Evangelist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an Evangelical youth movement that boasted some 500 affiliated groups on university campuses across the U.S. As a staff member, I: led Bible Studies and Prayer Meetings; directed weekend conferences; participated in summer camps; evangelized on the beaches of Ft Lauderdale, Florida during Spring Break; and joined other young Christians for missionary activities in Central America.
During those years (like similar gay youth from religious backgrounds) I struggled to reconcile my religious beliefs with my sexuality, but found myself engaged in--what I perceived at that time--a hopeless battle that I would never win. Although trying to be the perfect Christian, I, nevertheless, fell in love with my best straight male friend and felt no sexual desire toward the young woman whom I thought I should marry.
In 1978, a visiting missionary from Africa gave me her 35mm Pentax K1000 camera. The unexpected gift soon became the means for me to say in pictures what I could not say in words. Although knowing little of photography, I, nevertheless, aimed the lens at my friends and the world around me, making photographs from inside my gay Evangelical closet. By 1983, through the help and support of others outside this religious organization, I chose to come out as a gay man: a choice that immediately demanded my resignation from the ministry, but a decision which immediately opened doors to a new life.
What do you want to do with 'Jesus Days'?
I intend to publish an amazing looking Zine and distribute it internationally with the long range goal of finding a Publisher for the whole book.
What is a 'Zine?'
A Zine is the modest but ambitious step-child of the publishing world. Young; clever; thoughtful; provocative; and innovative: the Zine allows the artist to express thoughts, stories and images in a playful and and inexpensive format. Directed toward a smaller, selective audience than books or the magazines, the Zine can be anything that the artist imagines. The format size, design and number of the edition are the choices of the creator, who finds inspiration in the limitations rather than defeat.
What will 'Jesus Days', the Zine, look like?
'Jesus Days' will be published in a limited edition run of five hundred copies. Fresh and exciting, this Zine is envisioned by designer, Riley Hooker, as an art object, printed on one large piece of paper, that folded and held within its own unique packaging will measure only 9"x12". But as you unfold it, a story will appear through text and photographs, until finally opened the Zine will appear as a large poster (30"x40" to 40"x60" that is suitable for hanging on a wall or displaying, folded, on a shelf.
Why all the effort to publish 'Jesus Days?'
The photographs in 'Jesus Days' were never intended to be seen by anyone other than myself and my friends. After re-discovering the Kodachromes collecting dust in a closet in my parent's house, I realized that the passage of time (more than 25 years) had now provided the distance necessary to view these images with a fresh eye, unencumbered by the feelings I would have had back then. As I showed the photographs to others, their encouragement and enthusiasm motivated me to work toward publishing the series as a book.
Although, I realize that 'Jesus Days' can be seen merely as a visual document of American life in the 1970s and 1980s, it is also much more than that. It is the world seen through the eyes of a young closeted Evangelical Christian, from a perspective not seen before and one that touches on a conflict that many gay youth from all religious backgrounds endure today. It is testament from the past and an exhortation today for young people to be true to themselves and to live with honesty and integrity.
How much Money is required to publish 'Jesus Days' as a Zine?
The budget for this project is set at $3500 of which 5% is kept by Kickstarter and another 3-5% retained by Amazon.com. This budget will allow the printing of five hundred (500) limited edition copies, as well cover the distribution costs (packaging and mailing) and include a small fee to the designer for his exemplary work. Extra funds raised beyond the budget will allow for printing on better paper stock and broaden our distribution to bookshops and other creative venues around the world. Additional funds will also provide the means for me to approach book publishers in the U.S. and abroad and to bring further attention to my photography work. According to the rules of Kickstarter, the entire budget must be raised in order for the funds to be dispersed. In the event that the project does not succeed, all gifts will be returned to the Funders.
Post Cards (Top to Bottom, 1 to 3):
Archival Print: 8.5"x11"
Archival Print: 13"x19"
Archival Print: 17"x22"
Thank you so much!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I believe that I have reduced many of the risks and challenges to completing the 'Jesus Days' Zine by already demonstrating my commitment to this project. For some five years, I have immersed myself in the images that I took some thirty years ago. I have spent hundreds (if not thousands of hours) making high res scans with one of the top Scanners (the Imacon Flextight) and cleaning the scans in PhotoShop of the accumulated years of dust and scratches from poor processing. With 'Jesus Days' I am motivated not merely to show the photographs but to also tell a story that needs to be told and one that hasn't been told in this format before.
I have also insured that this task will be completed by engaging a Graphic Designer, who not only can fulfill and expand my own vision, but who has the knowledge to know the mechanics and production costs of such a project.
I also have gathered together a community of artists and photographers who have demonstrated their own enthusiasm and help to insure that this project succeeds. Colleagues at the School of the International Center of Photography have been extremely encouraging and helpful in making 'Jesus Days' happen.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
A signed 4"x6" Postcard from 'Jesus Days' with a personally written Thank You.Estimated delivery:
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27 backers Limited (473 left of 500)
The Zine! An exciting and unique, limited edition (500 copies) . Price includes mailing costs.Estimated delivery:
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A signed 'Jesus Days' foldout Zine, plus three signed 4"x6" postcards (with different images).Estimated delivery:
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Three 'Jesus Days' Zines One to keep for yourself and two to share with friends).Estimated delivery:
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The signed 'Jesus Days' Zine, plus an open edition and signed 8.5"x11" archival inkjet print.Estimated delivery:
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A signed 'Jesus Days' Zine in its own unique packaging, plus a 13"x19" limited edition (15) signed archival ink jet print.Estimated delivery:
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A portrait sitting with the photographer for you, your family, or the person of your choice. I will shoot with a traditional medium format camera on black/white film. The negatives will be scanned on a top Imacon Flextight Scanner. You will receive three (3) 8.5x11" archival prints of your choice. Additional prints (different sizes) available at additional costs. Travel expenses outside the New York City area will also be additional.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
A signed copy of the 'Jesus Days' Zine in its own unique packaging, plus a limited edition (9) signed 17"x22" archival ink jet print.Estimated delivery:
- (21 days)