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A documentary photo-essay... Voices & images of native Core Sounders, generations of DownEast water-men
A documentary photo-essay... Voices & images of native Core Sounders, generations of DownEast water-men
54 backers pledged $6,071 to help bring this project to life.

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$6,071

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Update, noting campaign ends November 30.  A new reward has been added  The fundraising goal has been surpassed arithmetically, but the scope of the research has been expanded exponentially.  Please check out  bencaseyphotos.com.  

View highlights of most recent interview, an interview with at least two more sessions to follow.  Your help to further expand the scope of interviews and research is needed and appreciated.

Earl Fulcher is at home with a guitar as much as he is in the engine room of a fishing boat, a ferry boat, a head boat, a research vessel, or a Corps of Engineers workboat.
Earl Fulcher is at home with a guitar as much as he is in the engine room of a fishing boat, a ferry boat, a head boat, a research vessel, or a Corps of Engineers workboat.

Raising funds for the field work to prepare Sound People for publication ... costs related to researching, photographing, editing, graphic design work, proof pre-printing, and travel costs.

Why would continued funding be so important if we have already reached the initial goal.  Additional funding that is being pledged will improve , enlarge, and enhance the scope of the research for the project and provide resources to present an illustrated program on this body of work to civic groups and schools both before and after publication.  Requests  for presentations have already begun to materialize.

Two new rewards, at the $75 and $150 level, have been add to stimulate fundng for these efforts.  

The docks at Luther Smith Seafood in Atlantic were quiet on a recent November sunrise.  Were all the boats out fishing, or were there no boats fishing?
The docks at Luther Smith Seafood in Atlantic were quiet on a recent November sunrise. Were all the boats out fishing, or were there no boats fishing?

The text from a homepage story on www.towndock.net, Wednesday, November 11 is below.

7:48a "Ben Casey is writing a new book. Ben writes:

"'Just east of Cape Lookout, NC, generations of Core Sounders have lived and earned a living on and around Core Sound, the narrow and shallow sound between mainland villages and Core Banks. The book I’m working on is “Sound People”. It will allow readers to connect to a salt-of-the-earth people, Core Sounders. They are a people bringing the best of their past into their present, while pondering their future.'"

"Ben has written several books. He has written about the Neuse River, Trent River and the Dismal Swamp Canal. Ben’s books sell well locally, but they don’t create $ like a national author does. Or even close. Put more simply, Ben doesn’t make any money doing this."

"He takes months interviewing people, takes amazing photographs, and then puts that all together in a book. Ben is now raising money to cover costs of travel while creating his next book – Sound People – about Core Sound. You can help make this happen through Kickstarter:
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1772306165/sound-people"

"TownDock Senior Management has given Ben a hard time about too small a goal. Ben should raise about twice his very modest goal to really fund this mission right. Here’s hoping he does."

Core Sounders are a people who face challenges similar to those encountered by all rural American  communities that are rich in traditions and local heritage.    I want all the backers of Sound People to be proud that they have backed this project.

Ben Casey

Just east of Cape Lookout, NC, generations of Core Sounders have lived and earned a living on and around Core Sound, the narrow and shallow sound between mainland villages and Core Banks. The banks, a thin band of sand, are bounded on the east by the constantly pounding surf of the Atlantic. Banks, plural, because one never knows when the Creator will create another inlet and divide them just as cells divide.

DownEast - One has to be east of the North River Bridge - The villages along the banks of Core Sound - Trivia - The only two stop signs on US 70 east of Raleigh, NC are in Smyrna and Davis
DownEast - One has to be east of the North River Bridge - The villages along the banks of Core Sound - Trivia - The only two stop signs on US 70 east of Raleigh, NC are in Smyrna and Davis

Serene seaside beauty stretches for miles:  marshlands that are home to waterfowl in all seasons, creeks, bays, rivers, the sound, and ocean beaches - virtually uncluttered by man's debris.

Sound People will allow readers to connect to a salt-of-the-earth people, Core SoundersThey are a people bringing the best of their past into their present, while pondering their future.  Their ability to change, but not change, is significant for all who witness modernization and homogenization challenge  traditional American landscapes, not just in North Carolina, but all across the nation.

This documentary will not be an outsider's perspective on DownEast.  instead, it will record their words as they describe who they are as a community of communities.

Readers of Sound People stories - spoken by fishermen, boat builders, shopkeepers, school teachers, mechanics, and more -  will glean an insight into DownEast culture, a culture shaped by centuries of traditions,  a culture where the neighbor has never left the hood. 

Heber Guithrie, boatbuilder, prefers handtools over power tools,  His use of traditonal methods resonates with traditional values of Core Sounders.
Heber Guithrie, boatbuilder, prefers handtools over power tools, His use of traditonal methods resonates with traditional values of Core Sounders.

Will the generally perceived notion of DownEast as an enclave of  idyllic coastal fishing villages square with a perspective generated by interviews with Core Sounders?    Can the perspectives of Core Sounders  significantly influence  policy makers and legislators? 

Can Core Sounders, who have co-existed with tidal changes beyond the surf, prevent that tide from sweeping away their DownEast identity?    Can Core Sounders adapt to a changing environment without changing, i.e., can they still maintain the values of their heritage as change impacts  the Core Sound landscape?

Hear them

  • define DownEast character, explain faith in tomorrow’s catch, while yesterday's catch was less than the day before
  • relate stories of cold-to-the bone icy winds as well as  oppressive heat & humidity
  • describe skills honed to understand  the ways of the sound, the creeks, the bays, and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • tell stories about the hurricane of '33, Hazel in '54, Ophelia in '05,  and others.

Hear them say

  • "A man can go out haul netting all week, fill up the run boat, but not have any idea at all what he's going to get paid for his catch on Friday."
  • "I grew up in Davis, but worked in Morehead City (30 miles away) on boats until I retired.  Then I moved back to Davis.  People asked me why I did that.  They said, 'There's nothing down there.'  I told 'em, 'That's why I moved back down there.'"
Canals slice through Core Sound communiteis, providing small, safe harbors and passageways to the sound.
Canals slice through Core Sound communiteis, providing small, safe harbors and passageways to the sound.

Sound People can not preserve DownEast society.  But it can be informative, enhancing an appreciation  for DownEast natives, their culture, their lifestyles, and their isolated but splendid space on this planet.  

In days gone by, a fisherman could support a large familiy with an iconic Core Sound skiff like this one  of past glory.  Small fishermen, like small farmers, stuggle to earn a living in ways passed down to them through the ages.
In days gone by, a fisherman could support a large familiy with an iconic Core Sound skiff like this one of past glory. Small fishermen, like small farmers, stuggle to earn a living in ways passed down to them through the ages.

Risks and challenges

The most obvious risk is a lack of necessary funds to complete the field work to prepare the documentary for publication.

Beyond this challenge, the most daunting obstacle will be to establish a rapport with individuals from very provincial communities, communities that literally, not figuratively, are mostly separated from major development west of the North River in Carteret County. Core Sounders are naturally skeptical about journalists. Historically, some journalists have written supposedly charming pieces that were actually perceived as demeaning or condescending by Core Sounders.

With good reason, they have learned not to always trust a reporter's reporting. I will need to convince them they will act as reporter, describing who they are, how they live and have lived for generations, and where they live.

Also, I must always be conscious of following my self-imposed parameters promised to the subjects of this documentary. The finished product sent to a publisher must record the voices of Core Sounders, not my voice speaking for them..

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Status reports on the project as appropriate,.

    Choice of any 8 x 10 color or B&W print from the finished product. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

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    A Ben Casey guided tour DownEast providing ample time for those with cameras to stop and record the scenery. Lunch for one at the Whitepoint Grill in Atlantic.

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Accompany me to interview a Core Sounder, be photographed with the subject of the interview, that photo to be included in the book. The backer’s personal interest in helping this project succeed will be highlighted in the chapter about the subject randomly chosen for this interview.

    Photo of subject and backer will be available within one month following the interview.

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    Choice of any 11 x 14 color or B&W print from the finished product, mounted, matted, and signed.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Status reports on the project as appropriate,.

    Choice of any 11 x 14 color or B&W print from the finished product. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    A Ben Casey guided tour DownEast providing ample time for those with cameras to stop and record the scenery. Lunch for two at the Whitepoint Grill in Atlantic.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Status reports on the project as appropriate.

    Choice of two 12 x 18 color or b & w prints from the finished product, mounted, matted, and signed. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    A signed copy of the finished book when it is delivered by the publisher.

    Prints can be delivered by November, 2016.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Regular updates.

    Choice of two 8 x 10 prints, mounted, matted, and signed.

    Choice of two 12 x 18 prints, mounted, matted, signed, and framed.

    Two copies of Sound People, personally autographed per directions when it is delivered by the publisher. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    Prints can be delivered by November, 2016.

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    Regular updates.

    Choice of two 12 x 18 prints, mounted, matted, signed, and framed.

    Two copies of Sound People, personally autographed per directions when it is delivered by the publisher. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    A personal, one-day guided tour for two of DownEast to all villages, meeting as many of the subjects who have been interviewed as may be practical.

    Two DownEast meals.

    Prints can be delivered by November, 2016.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Regular updates.

    Choice of two 12 x 18 prints, mounted, matted, signed, and framed.

    Two copies of Sound People, personally autographed per directions when it is delivered by the publisher. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    A personal, half-day guided tour of DownEast to all villages, meeting as many of the subjects who have been interviewed as may be practical.

    Two DownEast meals.

    A boat ride to Core Banks and Ophelia Inlet.

    Prints can be delivered by November, 2016.

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    Pledge $2,100 or more About $2,100

    Regular updates.

    Choice of two 12 x 18 prints, mounted, matted, signed, and framed.

    Two copies of Sound People, personally autographed per directions when it is delivered by the publisher. Recognition in the publication as a contributing partner.

    A half day guided tour for two of DownEast to all villages,

    A trip to Core Banks to the Ophelia Inlet area of Core Banks for shelling and a picnic for two.

    A trip to Cape Lookout, a picnic for two.

    Prints can be delivered by November, 2016.

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Funding period

- (26 days)