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The Box is a fine art book of Ron Amato's innovative and seductive photography project.
The Box is a fine art book of Ron Amato's innovative and seductive photography project.
253 backers pledged $26,024 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$26,024

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Update: Since we surpassed our original goal, we are able to expand the book from 96 to 112 pages! We are hoping to continue to raise funds so we can improve other attributes of the book, like upgrading the end papers. Some of the things we would like to do are not always obvious but have a different feel when holding the book in your hands.

Focused on themes of isolation, desire, conflict and empowerment, Ron Amato’s photographic series and upcoming book, The Box, speaks to human experiences of self-discovery and community building. Using a series of boxes to create visual metaphors, Ron echoes his development from adolescence to adulthood through over 100 color, and black and white photographs. Evoking first his youth in Brooklyn, New York during the 1960s and 1970s, moving through his coming out as a gay man and to his present position as a respected professional photographer and teacher, Ron creates a vivid portrait of struggle and triumph.

Individually the photographs evoke powerful responses. However, they achieve the scope of their power only in relation to each other. 

Reflecting the square of the boxes in the photographs, this 96-page book is designed in a 10-inch square format. It has a hard cover and dust jacket. It is available with an embossed, cloth covered slipcase at specific pledge levels. The printing will be of the highest quality from a renowned Italian printing house.

Draft Cover Art
Draft Cover Art

 

"The Box Typology 2" - 24"x24" signed limited edition print
"The Box Typology 2" - 24"x24" signed limited edition print

 Artist Statement

Boxes trap, boxes hide, boxes protect, you receive gifts in boxes. We’re told to "think outside the box.” Pandora had a box.

This project uses boxes as vehicles for expressing different stages of my life as a gay man. The object at once represents an obstacle and a tool for acceptance and pride. The Box represents eight concepts that follow the arc of of my life from isolation to empowerment. Along the way I grappled with adversity and conflict, longed to be in love, found ways to satiate desires, eventually becoming empowered and connecting with community.  

The project developed slowly. I analyzed each shoot, looking for clues that evoke emotions associated with my journey, and learning how they related to each other. I used old boxes that showed signs of damage from age and use. I constructed new boxes, at first raw and unfinished, then adding finish in stages until the imperfections were almost eliminated.

These images represent a collaboration with over thirty men. They reflect a diversity of ages, cultures, races and lifestyles. We started each shoot discussing the themes of the project and what I was trying to communicate. Initial images involved interacting with a box, each collaborator bringing their own voice to the project. It was very much like a performance, each bringing a unique physicality to the project. The dynamics shifted as I choreographed the interactions, putting together men who were strangers, lovers, husbands, friends and coworkers. I only intervened if I could encourage deeper exchange and exploration. As the project progressed, I was able to refine my communication with models to get very specific results, having found words to reflect ideas that resonated with me since the beginning of the project.

Interpretation of images is personal. What one might see as conflict, another might view as connection. There is a fine line between isolation and longing. Community often grows out of desire. Processes are fluid and oftentimes nonlinear. Yet, no matter how expressed, the struggles of betterment are deeply felt by us all regardless of the distinctions of our own stories.

Most of my artwork explores issues of sexuality. The enigma of attraction has been an ongoing question. With The Box I was able to explore those themes more deeply, helping me develop a better understanding of myself as a gay man and the larger gay universe. Getting to know my collaborators, and seeing the dynamics between them, has enlightened me to the diversity of human experience within a specific demographic. I therefore see myself in a different light as part of that group and as an individual. I feel a bond with the men who are part of this project, as they embody parts of my own self-discovery and have advanced my interactions with a wider gay community. I am confident that my work will take a different trajectory because of the knowledge and awareness I gained making this project. I can move on from many of the questions that have puzzled me in the past. However, attraction still remains an enigma, maybe more now then ever.

 

"The Box Typology 1"-  8"x9.5" signed print
"The Box Typology 1"- 8"x9.5" signed print

 

Connection Bundle - 4 8”x9.5” prints
Connection Bundle - 4 8”x9.5” prints

 

Isolation Bundle - 4 8"x8" prints
Isolation Bundle - 4 8"x8" prints

 

Ron editing Box photos
Ron editing Box photos

 

Selection of Images from The Box Shoots
Selection of Images from The Box Shoots

 

Selection of Images from The Box Shoots
Selection of Images from The Box Shoots

 

Selection of Images from The Box Shoots
Selection of Images from The Box Shoots

  

Draft Spread
Draft Spread

 

Draft Spread
Draft Spread

 

Draft Spread
Draft Spread

 

Draft Spread
Draft Spread

 The Financials

The Box project has been in production for two years. Countless hours of pre-production, shooting and post-production have already gone into the project. Preparing the boxes, casting, shooting and post-production/retouching has been the main focus of Ron and his assistants during this time.

Other costs include a camera person and editor for the videos, a copy editor for all the text and the promotional materials when the book is released.

The book's construction and design will be of the highest quality. The book will be printed in Italy with multiple test proofs to insure quality. We want to make sure we deliver a product backers can be proud of. 

 Disclaimer: All draft pages are subject to change in the final book.

 

Risks and challenges

Production time is an estimate. Although all the photography is complete, there is still some editing and post-production to be done. Final selection of images is a fluid process. Thousands of photographs have been made for this project. Creating the right dynamic between images, and connection between sections is crucial to the ultimate viewer experience.

The quality of the book is assured because I am partnering with a professional publishing company to guide every stage of production. In addition, the book will be printed at one of the finest printing houses in Italy.

We will do our best to ship all books and prints in early January 2017. There is always a chance of a delay. The first priority is to make sure the book is of the highest quality.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Postcard Thank You

    A postcard with a thank you from Ron.

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    Early Bird Special

    This Early Bird Special will get you the book at a special price. The amount of books available for this offer is limited so get yours while you can!

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    The Box book with a Signed Certificate

    The Box book with a certificate signed by the artist. Only available through Kickstarter!

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    The Box book with your Name Inside

    Get The Box book with your name printed on the backers page inside the book. Also includes the signed certificate.

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    The Box book w/ Special Edition Slipcase

    Get The Box book in a Special Edition Clothbound Slipcase (only available through Kickstarter). Also includes your name in the book and a signed certificate.

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    • Your name printed on the backers page in the book
    • Signed certificate
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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    The Box book & a signed 8"x9.5" print

    Get The Box book with a signed 8"x9.5" archival print of Box Typology 1 (see project description for image). Also includes the slipcase and your name in the book.

    Includes:
    • Your name printed on the backers page in the book
    • Clothbound Slipcase
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    The Box Book & Connection 4 Print Bundle

    Get the book with the Connection Bundle - 4 8"x9.5" limited edition prints (see project description for images). Also includes your name in the book and the slipcase.

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    • Your name printed on the backers page in the book
    • Clothbound Slipcase
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    The Box Book & Isolation 4 Print Bundle

    Get the book with the Isolation Bundle - 4 8"x8" limited edition prints (see project description for images). Also includes your name in the book and the slipcase.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Box book & limited ed. 24"x24" print

    Get The Box book with a limited edition, numbered 24"x24" print of The Box Typology 2 (shipped separately, see project description for image). Also includes your name in the book and the slipcase.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Photo Shoot with Ron w/ Book and Print

    2-3 hour photo shoot of up to 2 people with Ron in New York. Includes a 24" print of the session and The Box book. Shoot to be scheduled winter/spring 2017. Travel expenses not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)