Shortly after moving to Chicago, Brandon Crockett volunteered to teach a poetry class at St. Leonard's Ministries, a halfway house and agency of Episcopal Charities and Community Services on Chicago's near west side. The agency serves individuals recently released from prison. In the seven years since, Brandon has collected hundreds of poems and now he will be sharing them with the public.
Since the early days of the class, Brandon's goal was to publish the residents' poetry in tandem with their individual portraits in a coffee table book entitled "Finding Freedom". The book would be used to raise funding and awareness for St. Leonard's to better help individuals readjust into society upon being released from prison.
In January 2014, Brandon reached out to world-renowned Chicago photographer Sandro Miller (known most recently for his acclaimed John Malkovich portraits). Sandro enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity to work on the portraits. Over the next year, he photographed over 60 residents in five separate photo shoots.
Brandon and Sandro teamed up with some of Chicago's top graphic designers to pair the portraits with the residents' handwritten poetry to create a beautiful coffee table book to be printed by Blanchette Press, who Sandro says, "is probably the greatest printer I have ever seen."
This is a high-end art book in both content, design, printing and binding that will spark conversation, and stir new thought. As you turn the pages, you will peek into the thoughts of those who rarely have a forum to share their voice and stare into the faces of individuals who often go unseen.
The experiences Brandon shared with the individuals at St. Leonard's greatly impacted and shaped his life and he feels it's time to give back. Viewing the residents' photos and reading their innermost thoughts will likewise have an impact on you, as you realize the difference between you and those who have gone to prison is likely far less than you think.
Brandon has turned to Kickstarter to raise money to pay for production costs. All proceeds will go towards the book's creation. Any remaining funds will be donated to St. Leonard's.
We invite you to donate and help the residents of St. Leonard's continue on the path to finding freedom.
Thanks to the staff at Bored Panda for featuring the work on their homepage.
More to come!
Risks and challenges
As with any publishing job, there is the risk of running into printing and shipping issues.
However, all of the content has been collected, the book has been designed, and the printer has a long history of working with Sandro, so there shouldn't be many issues in the printing process.
If there are setbacks, you will be kept up to speed with the progress as the team relies on their experience to trudge through.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)