Hey everyone! My name is Johnny Joo. I'm a photographer/photojournalist/photo-historian/cat-lover based out of Cleveland, OH. You may be familiar with my photographs taken inside Rolling Acres Mall, Randall Park Mall, Pontiac Silverdome Stadium or Mike Tyson's abandoned mansion, among many others. Hey, you might even actively follow my work on facebook or through my blog! In which case, hello there and thank you for visiting this Kickstarter project! I'm going to need your help and the combined help of an amazing community to help bring this dream to reality. But what is it exactly that I need help with?
Well, to keep it short and simple - I have finished a book!
But...I need some help in funding to get it where it needs to be. Without enough books in print, it's difficult to reach out to other markets that might want to carry this book (such as your local book store), and this is where your amazing help can come in!
For those who may not be familiar with the project, I would love to give you a quick overview.
Over the course of the last 10 years, I have compiled photographs documenting the abandoned, forgotten pieces of our society. Through this particular collection of images, I have been able to capture rusted remains of forgotten Americana.
Recently, I took on this project - writing pieces, compiling, designing and editing an entire book based around this topic. While finalizing my complete edit for a very limited first edition print run, I looked into other printers to print at a higher volume of copies. The first edition was printed as an 8.5x11 size soft cover, but I aim for this next version to be full hard cover with a matte finish, and if the Kickstarter can reach a stretch goal of $15,000 then that could open up the ability for engraving on the cover.
It has been a full day job nearly every day spent on it, but the completed piece is more than worth it. Through numerous coffee-fueled days starting at 8am and ending at 4am, I was finally able to finish a project that I am proud to call one of my creations.
The reason for this Kickstarter is that the book needs an affordable and reasonable retail price, but without the necessary funds for printing such a large quantity print run, this cannot be brought to reality. Working independently as an artist makes this a bit more challenging, so I'm asking for help from the community to help bring this project to life.
When you hear the word “Americana,” what kind of scenery does your imagination draw up? For many, it’s a typical imagery of the once-revered “American dream” – you know, shiny cars, white picket fences, 5 cent candies, smoke-filled diners and an ice cream parlor blaring Chuck Berry through the jukebox speakers. Fast-forward some decades of technological advancements later, and we seem to have largely tossed much of that dream aside, along with any notion that these would somehow, some day hold importance to many. While it provides nostalgia to one, having lived through that time, and wistfulness to another, wishing to have been born in that era, to some - both young and old – these artifacts are no more than a heap of rusted trash; a “worn out and boring” history.
The first known use of the term “Americana” is found to be dated back as far as the year 1841, but today the word seems to broadly apply to much of our culture’s artifacts into the 1970s. The term could refer to anything from paintings, drawings and license plates, to entire vehicles, household objects like lamps, televisions or kitchen appliances, to public venues such as ice cream shops, diners, drive-in movies and so on. Basically, it’s safe to say that you can tie this word to any relatable object identifiable within those years; 1841-1970 – with 1880-WWI (1914) being referred to as “the good old days.”
In today’s society, it’s easy to see that this nostalgia and wistfulness for these past time periods has lead to a revitalization of many unique designs America once loved. While parts of the older generation have been collectors for many years, the younger generation has now joined in romanticizing and sometimes glamorizing these past eras, most notably “the fifties.” For example, if you look through the many different stores around you – such as Target or Michaels - it’s seemingly becoming easier and easier to find department stores, craft stores and more carrying brand new, updated version of older designs. Sure, you’ll always have the negative opinions from any side - young or old - that can’t stand the past or may refer to it as “boring,” and this is how we are left with so many pieces rusted and forgotten. Obviously you can’t just change someone’s mind on this, and while it may be sad for those who enjoy it, you can’t just decide what someone is to like and not to like. That being said, I still can’t help but feel a bit sad and partially angry when I see something so beautiful falling into the dirt and dust.
While 1920-1950 remains one of my personal favorite sections of our timeline, we must not forget the earlier years.
The book will be 170 pages, full of photos alongside stories and history of places that once were and some that are gone forever. The book will be hard cover with a matte finish, and as I had said above, possible engraving on covers in the stretch goal is reached.
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
You can also find me at any of the following, where I will respond to any questions you may have :)
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, my blog or my website
Risks and challenges
With any project taken on by an independent artist, there will of course be risks in ones this extent. Thankfully, I have taken on a few projects very similar over the last 2 years, and have gained a bit more knowledge from each one on what issues may arise. In this particular situation, I don't see much happening other than a possible later ship date (but I highly doubt this)
Since my book files are finished and ready for print, the project is essentially done, and now only requiring the necessary funding and support of a community.
I promise to do all in my power to make sure your book arrives to you on the time expected. If I get held up petting a kitten I'm sorry.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)