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‘East or West’ is an abridged diary, an account of a mystical journey, and a photographic poem in the form of a book.
‘East or West’ is an abridged diary, an account of a mystical journey, and a photographic poem in the form of a book.
165 backers pledged $8,022 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$8,022

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The goal of this Kickstarter is to raise the funds needed to publish a photographic book about walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan.

In September 2010 (a few days before my thirty-third birthday), I set out on an 800-mile walk around the island of Shikoku, Japan.  Along their circular journey pilgrims worship at 88 temples on the island, following a route that loosely traces the life and legends of the Buddhist saint Kōbō Daishi.  While many complete the pilgrimage by train, car, or tour bus, others walk, following a tradition that is at least four centuries old.

Kōbō Daishi was a ninth-century saint, a religious and social reformer, a mountain holy man, a diplomatic envoy, and the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. He was born and raised on Shikoku, and many of the temples and sacred spots of the pilgrimage are connected with his childhood and early spiritual training.

The Shikoku trail was not my first walking pilgrimage. One year earlier I walked 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Finisterre in Spain. On both journeys I set out to experience and to document why each year tens of thousands of people, from many of the most developed and secular countries in the world, leave their daily lives and abandon their usual amenities and comforts for weeks at a time. What I discovered was the joy in becoming part of a community that transcends both religion and nationality: one that forms its identity around something as simple—and as human—as walking.

On my first pilgrimage I was overwhelmed by the experience and exhausted by my own weakness. It was a phenomenal journey of personal discovery, but one rooted in the physical. During the Shikoku pilgrimage, I was much stronger, and by the third week of walking, from time to time, the material world unexpectedly gave way to a voyage of mystical transformation. It is this passage between a physical and a spiritual state of mind that I have worked to express in this book.

Did this re-enchantment happen because the first pilgrimage had prepared my spirit, because I was stronger, because I was more alone, because I was in Japan, or because Kōbō Daishi blessed my journey? It is hard to know for certain. However, having now walked hundreds of miles on a Catholic and a Buddhist pilgrimage, I know that the way to the doors of the spiritual world follows the same path in the human being, east or west.

All the photographs in the book were shot on film with a Mamiya 7.

Featured Print: ‘Field of Flowers’ – Fall flowers line the route as it passes through Ehime prefecture: available as a limited edition print in three different sizes.
Featured Print: ‘Field of Flowers’ – Fall flowers line the route as it passes through Ehime prefecture: available as a limited edition print in three different sizes.

THE BOOK: 

Title: East or West: A Walking Journey Along Shikoku’s 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Photographs: 18

Text: quotes and journal entries

Language: English

Imprint: The Kyoudai Press publication series -- http://www.kyoudaipress.com/

Company: Blind Cat Valentine LLC -- blindcatvalentine {at} gmail.com

Medium: Softcover, off-set press

(The books will be printed in Iceland by a printer that specializes in art books.)

Size: 8.25” by 7.75”

Number of copies: 300 to 500 (depending on the interest shown and how much money I raise!) 

Year printed: 2014 

All books pre-ordered through this Kickstarter will be signed and dated by me.

The photographs in the book appear in the video that introduces this Kickstarter.

Views of the Pacific Ocean dominate the route along Shikoku’s Eastern perimeter: available as a postcard as one of the rewards.
Views of the Pacific Ocean dominate the route along Shikoku’s Eastern perimeter: available as a postcard as one of the rewards.

THE KICKSTARTER: 

Why have I decided to raise the funds to make the book through Kickstarter?

As many of you know, printing a high-quality, full-color photography book is expensive. Quite frankly, I can’t afford to make this book happen without your help! 

By raising the funds through Kickstarter, I get a chance to offer my supporters special deals on prints and other limited edition items that are only available now.  I also get a chance to share the news of the project with a much wider audience than would know about it otherwise.

I’ve run two successful Kickstarter campaigns before. The process seemed to work well for me and for my backers. Please do check out my previous Kickstarters and the books they created:

Lost Things: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1101472817/lost-things-limited-edition-artists-book

333 Saints: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1101472817/333-saints-a-life-of-scholarship-in-timbuktu-book

Featured Print: ‘Fudō Myōō’ -- Fudō Myōō is a Buddhist God who is believed to be an unyielding defender against evil: available as a special edition print for those who pledge at the “Special Edition Supporter” level and above.
Featured Print: ‘Fudō Myōō’ -- Fudō Myōō is a Buddhist God who is believed to be an unyielding defender against evil: available as a special edition print for those who pledge at the “Special Edition Supporter” level and above.

 So, what is a ‘Kickstarter Edition’?

Under the pledge options, you will find that every supporter who pledges over $75 gets a ‘Kickstarter Edition’--a small (8.5” by 11” paper size), archival, ink-jet print--of the Fudō Myōō photograph.  Fudō Myōō is a Buddhist God who is believed to be an unyielding defender against evil.  His presence is ubiquitous along the pilgrimage path, and he became a special deity for me.  The size of the edition will be limited to the number of backers that pledge at a level high enough to receive this incentive, and the print will not be offered at this size again.

I have also decided to offer the photograph ‘Field of Flowers’ at a special price in its small and medium limited edition formats (an image of this photograph is at the beginning of the project description above).

I’m excited about making these prints and books and getting them out to you!

You can learn more about me from my bio, as well as from my various project websites: 

Portfolio Site: http://www.alexandrahuddleston.com/

Kyoudai Press Main Website: http://www.kyoudaipress.com/

Kyoudai Press Blog: http://kyoudaipress.wordpress.com/

Kyoudai Press Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KyoudaiPress?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexhuddle

A red hand points the way for walking pilgrims in Shikoku: available as a postcard as one of the rewards.
A red hand points the way for walking pilgrims in Shikoku: available as a postcard as one of the rewards.

Risks and challenges

If everything goes smoothly, the final PDF will be ready to send to the printer by the end of May. It will take a couple of months for them to make the books and send them from Iceland, and it will also take me a couple of months to get all the other prints and goodies together. That is why I’m estimating a delivery date of mid-September.

However, there are a lot of moving parts involved in this project. I’m working with my own schedule and deadlines as well as with the printer and the shipping companies.

This will be my second time self-publishing a book printed by an off-set printing press, so I’ve gone through this process before and know the ropes. However, every book is different and offers unique challenges: miscalculations in the timing could occur, or one or more of the parties involved might develop unforeseen circumstances that I’ll have to take into account, and there’s always that invisible nightmare called ‘technical difficulties’ (especially involving computer equipment) that lingers as a shadow over any project!

Hopefully, all will go well. Be assured that at all stages, I’ll keep you updated on my progress with informative and entertaining backer reports!

Thank you.
Alexandra Huddleston 
- kyoudaipress {at} gmail.com

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CARDS : You get 2 lovely postcards featuring photographs from the book—the text to the left indicates which two images will be featured on the cards.

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    THE BOOK : You get a signed copy of the softcover book “East or West”! (If you would like more than one book, add $20 for each additional book—for up to a maximum of 10 books)

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    THE BOOK + CARDS : You get a signed copy of the softcover book “East or West”
    + 2 lovely postcards featuring photographs from the book—the text to the left indicates which two images will be featured on the cards.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SPECIAL EDITION SUPPORTER : You will receive a signed, limited, ‘Kickstarter Edition’ print of the color photograph ‘Fudō Myōō’ (8.5” by 11” paper size) + a signed copy of the softcover book “East or West” + 2 lovely postcards—the text to the left shows the featured Fudō Myōō photograph.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    FEATURED PRINT ‘Field of Flowers,’ SMALL SIZE : You will receive a limited edition, archival, ink-jet print of the photograph ‘Field of Flowers’ (19” by 13” paper size, edition of 5) + all the rewards of a “Special Edition Supporter”—the text to the left shows the featured ‘Field of Flowers’ photograph.

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    OTHER LIMITED EDITION PRINT, SMALL SIZE : You will receive a limited edition, archival, ink-jet print of your choice of any of the photographs in the book “East or West” (19” by 13” paper size, edition of 5) + all the rewards of a “Special Edition Supporter”

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    FEATURED PRINT ‘Field of Flowers,' MEDIUM SIZE : You will receive a limited edition, archival, ink-jet print of the photograph ‘Field of Flowers’ (22” by 17” paper size, edition of 5) + all the rewards of a “Special Edition Supporter”—the text to the left shows the featured ‘Field of Flowers’ photograph.

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    OTHER LIMITED EDITION PRINT, MEDIUM SIZE : You will receive a limited edition, archival, ink-jet print of your choice of any of the photographs in the book “East or West” (22” by 17” paper size, edition of 5) + all the rewards of a “Special Edition Supporter”

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    LIMITED EDITION PRINT, LARGE SIZE " You will receive a limited edition, archival, ink-jet print of your choice of any of the photographs in the book “East or West” (36” by 29” image size, edition of 5) + all the rewards of a “Special Edition Supporter”

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Funding period

- (32 days)