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Bees in Italy: Art highlighting the story of honeybees, beekeepers, & organic life by photographing farms across Italy this spring Read more

Boston, MA Photography
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This project was successfully funded on May 1, 2014.

Bees in Italy: Art highlighting the story of honeybees, beekeepers, & organic life by photographing farms across Italy this spring

Boston, MA Photography
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About this project

Massimo. Piedmont, Italy. 2013.
Massimo. Piedmont, Italy. 2013.

There is an unspoken equilibrium between the bee and the beekeeper, a mutual trust and a mutual tension. I have learned how to connect myself with nature by becoming a backyard beekeeper when I was 20 years old. When I learned how to breed queen bees, I became fascinated by the control we have over nature: how humans are able to alter life but are, in essence, still powerless.

Motion Study, Bees Long Exposure
Motion Study, Bees Long Exposure

There has been a steady and devastating decline of bee populations, both in the United States, and globally. It's no secret that bees are dying at alarming rates.

“Without [bees], we wouldn’t have almonds, cherries, tomatoes, nor 68 other crops that provide 90 percent of the planet’s food” (Businessweek)

Last summer I booked a one way flight to Italy to make pictures of the progressive changes happening there. I spent three months living with and working with beekeepers. The photographs serve to show that a life of progressive farming is within our reach, but my work is not yet complete.

Behind the Scenes: Photographing in Tuscany, August 2013
Behind the Scenes: Photographing in Tuscany, August 2013

Because Italy was the first nation in the EU to ban the use of neonictanoid pesticides in corn, they are leaders in agriculture. With your help, I will be able to return there: to finish making images for Bees in Italy.

Laura in Budrio, Bologna. September 2013
Laura in Budrio, Bologna. September 2013

I am drawn to the introverted beekeepers whose connection with the bees surpasses the sublime.

Beekeeper in Liguria, Italy. September 2013
Beekeeper in Liguria, Italy. September 2013

Bees in Italy is intended to show the 'golden age' of beekeeping. Instead of focusing on the decline and death of one of the planets most important insects, I am using photography to tell the story of a seeming utopian life specific to Italy. But half of this story remains unfinished...

Interview with Massart, October 2013
Interview with Massart, October 2013

I need your help to finish this project! My pictures from phase one Bees in Italy are from the late summer/fall. I need to return to make images during the springtime. Help me complete this goal.

By backing this project you will be supporting the arts as well as fueling a drive for organic life around the world. This art aims to educate it's viewers and tell a story of what a healthy natural world can look like.

We need to work together to help end the global bee crisis.

Interview with Massart, October 2013
Interview with Massart, October 2013
Bees in Italy, Part One: Gallery of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. Jan - April 2014
Bees in Italy, Part One: Gallery of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. Jan - April 2014

Budget includes air and ground transportation, food, lodging, medium format film and development, wider lens, and lab fees (paper, photo ink, scanning.)

Risks and challenges

I have already finished phase one of Bees in Italy in the fall of last year, therefore I have an idea of what I am getting myself into. I know what I need to achieve artistically to make this project compelling.

I could run into complications securing farms/beekeepers to host me, camera malfunctions, and travel logistical issues.

By far the biggest challenge will be dealing with lots and lots of bee stings.

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FAQ

  • Yes it does.

    All rewards $80 and above include a honey baking/cooking guide. The cookbook PDF will include my food photographs as well as stories and insight about where and who the recipe comes from!

    -Renée

    Last updated:
  • I created a detailed budget spreadsheet long before launching this campaign.

    To complete this project it will cost approximately $8,000. I made the Bees in Italy goal intentionally lower, so that I could secure reaching *part of* the funds.

    Now that I have reached the goal, it is still really important to spread the word, get people involved, and build a community.

    Extra money will be used towards shooting more film, and for making/shipping the rewards.

    Also, if we hit $8,000 it will help fund a light projector that I can use to display the photographs on public walls and spaces. (Traveling art shows anyone??)

    In other words: every dollar still counts and will be stretched as far as possible.

    -Renée

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    11 backers

    Your name will be listed as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS webpage.

    (Optional: I will also include a link to your website, blog, or social media page.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    34 backers

    You will receive a hand addressed and signed printed photo postcard in the mail with an image made from the project.

    Your name on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    17 backers

    Signed 5x7 print on luster photo paper.
    One hand addressed and signed printed photo postcard in the mail with an image made from the project.
    Your name on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    16 backers

    One signed 8x10 luster archival inkjet print. One printed postcard.

    Your name on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    4 backers

    Renée's Favorite Italian Honey Recipes Collection!

    You will receive my 10 favorite Italian honey recipes, some will be specific to certain regions, some specific to the entire country.

    I will send you a digital file that includes honey desserts and food recipes that I will discover on my trip with some written insight and stories.

    One 8x10" print. One signed printed photo postcard.

    Your name/wedsite featured as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    7 backers

    THREE 8x10" luster archival inkjet prints. A set of THREE different photo postcards.

    Your name featured as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    2 backers

    FIVE 8x10" luster archival inkjet prints, a set of THREE different photo postcards, honey recipe book. Your name featured as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    6 backers Limited (2 left of 8)

    THE BIG PRINT. You will receive a 20 x 24 inch archival inkjet print with a luster finish. The print will be signed, numbered, and be really BIG. This is a limited edition of 8 prints. Your name featured on the WALL of THANKS & you will receive a printed postcard in mail. Arrives in time for Christmas.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    1 backer

    THREE 11x14" and FIVE 8x10" signed luster archival inkjet prints, set of three photo postcards, honey recipe book. One printed postcard mailed from Italy. Your name/website featured as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    2 backers

    Beginner Beekeeping LESSONS. We will have three half hour long Skype sessions (or two 1 hour coffee meetings if you live near Boston.) I will share my beekeeping tips, stories, and knowledge. You can ask me everything you want to know about starting your own beehive. I will walk you through the process of what you need to know and expect in your first year of beekeeping.

    THREE 8x10" luster archival inkjet prints, set of three photo postcards, honey recipe book, your name/website featured as a backer on the Bees in Italy WALL of THANKS. Written acknowledgement in the brochure of my exhibition.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    TWO 16x20", FOUR 11x14" and SIX 8x10" luster archival inkjet prints. Each print signed, numbered, and dated. A set of THREE different photo postcards. Handwritten note card from Italy. Honey recipe book. Your name/website featured on the wall of thanks. Written acknowledgement in the brochure of my exhibition.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    Ultimate Backer Package!
    I will fly to your city and make a onetime-only projected public art slideshow. I will deliver a 20 minute artist talk to you and your group/audience or we will discuss the project one-on-one over dinner at the restaurant of your choice. I will bring small samples of regional Italian honeys for you and a friend to sample.You will receive Four 16x20", Four 11x14", Ten 8x10" luster archival inkjet prints of your choice. Each print signed, numbered, and dated. Three postcards. Honey cookbook. Handwritten note card from Italy. Written acknowledgement in the brochure of my exhibition.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (45 days)