With your support, 'Mountains of Kong' will become a 3D photo book containing thirty-five stereoscopic images of the phantom mountain range and its flora and fauna, alongside maps, essays, and a folding 3D viewer.
The Mountains of Kong appeared of the finest maps of the world for over a hundred years before they were declared to be non existent. First 'discovered' by Scottish explorer Mungo Park in 1798, they ran from Guinea in West Africa and continued eastwards connecting to the ( also fictitious ) Mountains of the Moon. During the following hundred years explorers returned with wild tales of an impassible mountain range, 'pink, snow capped, flowing with gold' and teeming with strange exotic animals as they grew in size and stature on maps of Africa. Finally, in 1889, French explorer Louis Binger returned from his expedition and burst the bubble : they simply did not exist.
In my 'Mountains of Kong' I breath fresh life in to the myth by documenting an imaginary expedition to the phantom mountain range, acting as explorer, scientist and photographer, and using stereoscopic technique that was at the height of its popularity at the same time as the mountains were at theirs : the mid 1800s. At that time three-dimensional stereoscopic images of strange exotic lands allowed Victorians to explore the four corners of the world from the comfort of their own living room. It was the internet and TV of the time. What better way to explore the Mountains of Kong ?
The work aims to be both engaging and playful, but also functions as a comment on the mutability of historical fact : the past appears to be in a constant state of flux, with endless revisions and alterations. Perhaps the elusive Mountains of Kong will one day rise again !
My stereoscopic images were made in Scottish and Welsh mountains, and some fantastic natural history museums around the world. Colours were added to enhance the mythical nature, and aquatic and non-African animals added to menagerie. Anything goes in the Mountains of Kong ! The book will contain a folding stereoscopic viewer, a full set of 35 stereoscopic images, a foreword by photography curator Susan Bright, a brilliant historical essay but Jon Loades-Carter, and a text on stereoscopy by Denis Pellerin, director of the London Stereoscopic Company. This will be my third collaboration with Hoop Design, who share my passion for the medium.
Risks and challenges
My last book 'Animal Kingdom' was successfully funded through Kickstarter - thank you ! It was published by Prestel who commissioned a follow-up book 'Human Anatomy'. This experience, along with the creation of two other previously published books ( 'Re enactors' and 'Conflict and Costume' ) leaves me well equipped to ensure this process runs smoothly. Hoop Design will be involved once again ( they design and edit for Tate and the Barbican ).
Hoop Design adds 'The challenge we are up against with stereoscopic photography books is that their production is more complicated and the costs are greater than a standard book, making them a less attractive option for big publishers that are profit driven. We feel that its important that these type of art books, which are lovingly crafted and considered, from the Japanese binding to the printing screen on the photographs not to mention the built-in-3D viewer, continue to have a place in bookshops. We make these books with no profit in mind, simply the desire to create something that is well thought out and beautiful to look at.
We are very familiar with the complex process of making a stereoscopic book and viewer. Through the production of our other stereoscopic titles, we have built a relationship with a printer and already have a prototype book for 'Mountains of Kong', greatly reducing the risk of any hiccups during the production stage. We are determined and exited to make this, our third stereoscopic book, a reality, and cannot foresee any other major risks or challenges."Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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