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Steve Richard’s Obscuro is a photobook of nude models and dancers submerged underwater, a collection which is both beautiful and rare.
Steve Richard’s Obscuro is a photobook of nude models and dancers submerged underwater, a collection which is both beautiful and rare.
171 backers pledged CA$ 30,488 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Obscuro - A Fine Art Photography Book project video thumbnail
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CA$ 30,488

171

The goal is to fund the publication of Obscuro, a large scale hardcover book featuring Steve Richard’s underwater nudes. Created between October 2012 and March 2015, the images in Obscuro are the pinnacle of almost two decades of Steve’s photography exploring the beauty of the body viewed through water’s surface. This will be the second book Steve has published, following 2010’s Cloud Bursting (11”x13” hardcover, 128 pages, 73 images) which was focused on studio Nudes of dancers and flour.

Obscuro features photographs of Nudes completely submerged underwater. This immersion creates a surreal world within the images, in which bodies, fabrics and hair accomplish the impossible. Though photographed from above, the water’s surface is completely transparent, further contributing to the feeling that there is something odd about the images. Until the secret is revealed (the model being submerged) it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is so intriguing about Steve’s haunting images.

The introduction video shares a sample of the images that will appear in Obscuro; though Steve Richard has been working on this series since 2012, he has only shared a few of the images intended for the book on his website or any social media. These are the most successful images he has made of this concept, and the majority were specifically reserved for the book, which keeps them exclusive and special. The images from the book that Steve has shared can be seen under Obscuro at his site: http://www.steverichard.com/thumbs/Obscuro/

The images for Obscuro are already photographed and edited; all that remains is finalizing the book layout and the printing. Having published Cloud Busting in 2010, Steve Richard has gained the experience and professional industry contacts necessary to see a book created from concept to final product. In preparation for this Kickstarter, he has received printing quotes, and selected a fine art book printer also from Canada (though the high quality paper will be shipped in from Italy.)

In order to realize the best book possible, Steve Richard is planning to oversee the entire process himself (as he did with his 2010 book Cloud Busting.) Steve has spent many hours hashing out every detail, every cost, and is now ready to commence with the final stage in this project; this is the only way to ensure that he creates the best book representation of his photography possible.

PUBLICATION DETAILS

  • Photographs by Steve Richard
  • Intro by Chris Pauley
  • Essay by Steve Richard
  • Design by Danielle Autran
  • Hardcover, 10.5˝ x 13˝
  • 192 pages of heavy 115 lb. Garda Silk paper from Italy
  • 120+ full colour (two in B&W) photographs
  • Release date: December 2015
  • List Price: $79.95 CDN

Your Role:

Up until now, this project has been completely self-funded by Steve Richard - a real labour of love - but with this Kickstarter, your pledges will provide the core funding to pay for the design and printing of the book. With successful funding, it is expected the book will be printed and distributed to Kickstarter Backers by November 2015. In December Steve Richard anticipates the book will be available through other distribution channel.

THE REWARDS

All backers from $45 CDN ($35 CDN for the Early Supporters) will receive a copy of Obscuro, signed by Steve Richard.  Additional rewards include original fine art prints; these are all produced under the direction of Steve Richard.

The 8˝x10˝ print the "Book & Bonus" Supporters will receive are unsigned, and printed using traditional photographic chemicals, papers and processes (Digital C-Prints).

The "book and print set" and "collector set" rewards offers 16”x20” signed and numbered print(s) (limited edition of 50) along with the book. 

16 x 20 inch print size shown with frame for reference
16 x 20 inch print size shown with frame for reference

The "Gallery print set" rewards offers a 28"x35" signed and numbered print (limited edition of 15) along with the book. 

28 x 35 inch print size shown with frame for reference
28 x 35 inch print size shown with frame for reference

The 8˝x10˝ reward print for the "book and bonus supporter" option is the cover of the book (without the title of course) - see image 1 below.

All of the 16"x20" and 28"x35" print award images are printed as a digital C-Print(s) and the 10 print options (now 12) to choose from for these options are shown below:

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The 2-day private photo workshop award option is an intensive  photography workshop specifically designed by Steve Richard to meet the needs of the participant(s).   This can be a one-on-one or up to 5 photographers can choose to split the cost.  Please contact Steve Richard directly through his website www.steverichard.com if you would like more details.

The following is a desktop wallpaper being offered to all reward levels as a download. (available in the following sizes: 2048x1536, 1920x1200 and 1600x1200).

Desktop Wallpaper
Desktop Wallpaper

Timeline

  • May - Kickstarter Campaign ends, book files delivered to book designer
  • June -  Book design process - Paper ordered from Italy
  • July/August Proofing and final edits
  • September - finished design files to publisher - Steve Richard oversees book setup and approved galleys - Steve Richard signs the coversheet of Kickstarter Backer Books
  • November - Finished book/prints ships to Kickstarter Backers
  • December - Public book release 

Following is a graphic of where the Kickstarter funds will go (note: shipping is not included in this analysis).

A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH STEVE RICHARD

Where did the idea for Obscuro originate?

In the mid ’90s I was living in the Bahamas, exploring shooting subjects underwater. I had been experimenting with models/dancers in both pool and ocean environments and I loved how the water affected the quality of the light on the body.

Eventually, in 2003 I began photographing models from above the surface; drawn to images of bodies underwater that do not look like it they are underwater. Without having to deal with the camera being submerged I would be able to create beautiful illusions if I could just figure out all of the technical constraints. It was not until 2012 when my new studio was built that I was able to build a dedicated environment capable of supporting the techniques that I had been developing since 2003. This eventually lead to the space where these images were made – the latest version of the water enclosure was a custom designed and built studio pool measuring 12´x17´x3´ – with my camera suspended 16’ above. 

Can you tell us how the photographs were made?

The images were photographed with studio flash lighting using multiple layers of diffusion, flags and reflectors. The camera equipment was primarily a 75mm shift lens on a Phase One DF body with a Phase IQ180 camera back. The camera was suspended over the pool, and all the images were made with the camera tethered to a computer. Each session took an average of 3 hours from start to finish (some images from earlier setups took up to three independent sessions), and involved a minimum of three people (myself, the model and an assistant). On average each session saw the creation of one or two final images. 

What was the biggest challenge of this project?

Although the photography itself was a challenge, what proved to be more difficult was the restrictions the shooting process forced upon the process: 

  • Most people didn’t sink and we had to find creative ways to keep them underwater
  • Any ripple in the water surface ruined the illusion
  • It was difficult to get the quality of light the way I wanted it underwater
  • I couldn't communicate to my model while they were underwater
  • Cloth or props never stayed where I wanted them to be
  • Most people couldn't hold their breath very long
  • Models couldn't work long enough to get an image unless the water was warm

Was there any specific inspiration for your underwater photography?

In 1997 I made a trip to Toronto and visited one my favourite bookstores; staring me in the face was a new book called Water Dance by Howard Schatz. Seeing Howard Schatz’s work completely stopped my interest in photographing models from an underwater perspective; I felt he had taken the concept even further than I could have imagined.

I did not give up on the weightlessness and beauty of the body underwater; I just needed to find a variation that would be part of my vision and not just a copy of someone else’s. I suspect that had I not seen Schatz’s book, I would have never moved out of the shadow of making images that paled next to his. 

COMMENTS ABOUT STEVE RICHARD’S LAST BOOK CLOUD BUSTING (2010)

“For those who collect Fine Art Nude, this book is a must. It is an incredible collection of black and white photographs that beautifully portrays the feminine form. I wish the author had a book of his "Red" collection series as well. Stunning.”

“Steve Richard's collection offers a unique vision of evansescence. Other photographers have captured female figures in motion, as most of his are - the athleticism and grace so different from men's strength, and the transitory effects on the soft masses of her body. There's always room for more studies of that unique beauty.

Richard goes farther, though. His figures bathe in particulate clouds, set aglow with careful lighting. Most often, those clouds emante from the model herself, as she tosses sand from her hair or flings it as she moves. The cloud becomes an extension, a demonstration of her motion. In other images, the model wears the clouds as some women have worn guazy clothing. In some, the clouds clothe the model quite chastely, giving an impression of some goddess emerging from nothingness. A few paired models add drama, as their motions (and their clouds) interact.

In this collection, variation comes largely from the details rather than from grand explorations or diverse models. Fortunately, women, their motion, and the play of light and sand offer endless detail to work with. These B&W photos form a fascinating, etheral, and very distinctive study.”

Cloudbusting can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Busting-Steve-Richard/dp/1934491276

Behind the Scenes Video :

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 Check out the following video featuring five of the models talking about the project:

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Interview with the models

Risks and challenges

Steve Richard already has the images created, processed, and prepared for the book designers. As this is Steve Richard's second book project, and he intends to follow the same process as the first, there is very little risk of failure, but the unexpected can happen; the greatest risk is shipping delays with the Italian paper or printing delays, but Steve Richard is working to ensure that these delays are minimized.

If the Kickstarter doesn't reach the funding goal, then your credit card will not be charged. If the funding goal is reached, then it is just a matter of finishing the design, printing the book and distributing it.

Thanks very much for your support.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $4

    Provide support for Obscuro, and upon successful funding, receive updates as a backer! Sincere thanks - every $ helps and I appreciate your support.

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    Pledge CA$ 35 or more About $29

    EARLY BOOK SUPPORTER: You'll receive Obscuro, a signed 10.5 x13 inch hardcover book. The book will contain over 120+ images on 192 pages on 115 lb. Italian paper.
    Retail value $79.95 CDN
    Shipping cost depends on location

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    Pledge CA$ 45 or more About $37

    BOOK SUPPORTER: You'll receive Obscuro, a signed 10.5 x13 inch hardcover book. The book will contain over 120+ images on 192 pages on 115 lb. Italian paper.
    Retail value $79.95 CDN
    Shipping cost depends on location

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    Pledge CA$ 45 or more About $37

    BOOK SUPPORTER LOCAL Picked up at Steve's Halifax NS Studio: You'll receive Obscuro, a signed 10.5 x13 inch hardcover book. The book will contain over 120+ images on 192 pages on 115 lb. Italian paper.
    Retail value $79.95 CDN
    Note: No Shipping cost - book is to be picked up in Halifax, NS Canada.

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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $82

    BOOK AND BONUS SUPPORTER: You’ll receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits with a bonus unsigned 8”x10” print of the book’s cover image. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $279.95 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $82

    BOOK AND BONUS SUPPORTER LOCAL: Picked up at Steve's Halifax NS Studio: You’ll receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits with a bonus unsigned 8”x10” print of the book’s cover image. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $279.95 CDN
    Note: No Shipping cost - book and print are to be picked up in Halifax, NS Canada.

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    Pledge CA$ 400 or more About $328

    BOOK & PRINT SET: One book and one print. You'll receive a 16” x 20” signed, numbered (edition of 50) fine art gallery digital C-Print (selected from 10 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $1,480.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 400 or more About $328

    BOOK & PRINT SET LOCAL PICKUP: One book and one print. You'll receive a 16” x 20” signed, numbered (edition of 50) fine art gallery digital C-Print (selected from 10 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $1,480.00 CDN
    No Shipping cost - book and print are to be picked up in Halifax, NS Canada.

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    Pledge CA$ 650 or more About $532

    BOOK & PRINT SET Duo: One book and two prints. You'll receive two 16” x 20” signed, numbered (edition of 50) fine art gallery digital C-Prints (selected from 12 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $2880.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 650 or more About $532

    BOOK & PRINT SET Duo local pickup: One book and two prints. You'll receive two 16” x 20” signed, numbered (edition of 50) fine art gallery digital C-Print (selected from 12 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $2880.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 900 or more About $737

    GALLERY PRINT SET: One book and one large print. You'll receive a 28” x 35” signed, numbered (edition of 15) fine art digital C-Print (selected from 10 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $2,580.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 1,500 or more About $1,229

    COLLECTOR'S SET – one book and five prints. You'll receive a set of five 16” x 20” signed, numbered (edition of 50) fine art digital C-Prints (selected from 10 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $7,080.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 1,500 or more About $1,229

    GALLERY PRINT Duo: One book and two large prints. You'll receive two 28” x 35” signed, numbered (edition of 15) fine art digital C-Prints (selected from 12 options shown). You’ll also receive the BOOK SUPPORTER benefits. Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $5,080.00 CDN
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    Pledge CA$ 5,000 or more About $4,096

    2 DAY PRIVATE PHOTO WORKSHOP IN HALIFAX. Includes all in the COLLECTOR'S SET plus a two-day photography-filled one-on-one workshop in Halifax, Nova Scotia with Steve (includes all local transportation, meals, two days of studio access, and model fees – airfare and accommodations are not included). Please note all prints are unframed.
    Retail value $10,000. CDN
    Shipping cost depends on location - book and prints estimated delivery in November 2015. Workshop date to be mutually agreed by Backer and Steve

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Funding period

- (30 days)