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AMERICAN - A documentary photo book's video poster
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A photographic survey of the United States in the summer of 2014. Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on April 2, 2014.

A photographic survey of the United States in the summer of 2014.

About this project

STRETCH GOAL #2: $6,000

If we can reach $6,000 before Wednesday, April 2nd at noon, we'll send everyone who donates $5 or more a full-color zine featuring photos, doodles, and scribbles from the trip (on top of the additional Polaroid photograph)!

We'll also be able to cover more ground. More ground = more photographs!

STRETCH GOAL #1: $5,000


WOW! I am so thankful to everyone who has donated so far! If we reach our stretch goal of $5,000, anyone who donates $5 or more will receive a one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph taken on the trip. That means that if you pledge $25 (or more), you'll get not just one, but TWO unique, signed Polaroid photographs! Let's rock this!

The Interesting Stuff

My name is Linnea Bullion, and with your help, I’m going to capture photographs on a road trip across America in the summer of 2014. I will select a number of these photographs and compile them into a photo book titled American. I want to create a photographic survey of the summer of 2014.

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote of "the decisive moment," a seemingly mundane, ordinary moment that is made extraordinary when brought to a standstill by a camera. It is my goal to photograph moments like these across the country, and to recognize that all of them share similar qualities, regardless of where they take place. I want to create a time capsule––this is your and my America, and this is what it looks like right now. American will present these photographs in a narrative format.

Though I've traveled extensively outside of the United States, I've hardly explored stateside. This has left in me a deep-seated desire to travel around America. For as long as I can remember I've loved road trips––it's freeing to have the ability to drive hundreds of miles in any direction and see something completely new yet strangely familiar. I want to hit more than just national monuments and "must-see" attractions; I want to present a collection of images that focus on the everyday. After all, it is the day-to-day interactions that leave the strongest impressions upon us.

My background lies in photojournalism, and I've spent the past few years getting comfortable photographing complete strangers. I’ve worked for local and school publications for over 5 years and have pursued numerous personal projects. In 2012, I received a grant to document skateboarders in Europe for two months. The resulting book titled ...AND FOR A MOMENT, TIME STOPS can be seen here. American will be my third book, and the first to take place within the United States.

The Feel

Here are a few examples for you to get a feel of the type of work I'll be shooting on the road:

For more examples of my work, please visit linneabullion.com

The Players

You've gotten to know me a bit already, but I'll tell you more! Hey. I'm Linnea. I've lived in Minnesota for 21.25 years (that other .75 was spent in Washington state for my freshman year of college). I really enjoy reading about large freshwater fish on Wikipedia (lake sturgeon can live to be 55 years old!). I am chock full of useless animal facts, so my travel companion (see below) will not be without entertainment in that regard. I will be the photographer on this trip and will also be curating the images to be used in the final photo book of this project, American.

Joining me is the wonderful Johanna Otico. Johanna is nearing the end of a yearlong stint teaching English to children in Thailand, so she's no stranger to long journeys. She likes zebras, daisies, and planning cross-country road trips. As she is an avid yogi, I will likely be photographing her in crazy poses in beautiful locations along the way. You can check out her fitness blog here. Johanna will act as the navigator and location scout for this project, helping research everything from the best routes to the best campsites in each area. She will also be blogging (and getting on my case about updating my own Instagram and Tumblr accounts as well).

The Route

Below is an approximate map of our route, starting from Minneapolis, MN and heading east.

We will be leaving early June and expect to be on the road for at least two months. The finished book, American, will be complete two months after we finish the trip (around October 2014).

The cities below serve as marking points for our journey upon making our $4,000 goal:
Minneapolis > Milkwaukee > Chicago > Cleveland > Bangor > Boston > NYC > Philadelphia > D.C. > Asheville > Atlanta > New Orleans (via Oxford) > Austin > Sedona > Phoenix > San Diego > LA > San Francisco > Portland > Seattle > Denver > Grand Forks > Minneapolis

If we reach a stretch goal of $5,000, we can add Nashville and Memphis to the route! $6,000 and we can make it to Las Vegas plus Kansas City and Omaha.

As you are helping us fund our journey, you deserve to have a say in its route! We are very open to suggestions of places to visit and photograph. If you have some ideas, please email us at info@linneabullion.com.

We'll take your road trip music suggestions as well!

Q&A

Q: A road trip, really?
A: To me, there is nothing more American than a cross-country road trip. Kitschy tourist traps, awe-inspiring backdrops, and everyday individuals make up the American landscape. These all serve as incredible subjects in their own right, but are diverse yet cohesive enough to make for an engaging photo series when presented together. 

Q: Why aren't you going to the middle of the country at all?
A: It's nothing personal, I promise! As I grew up in the midwest, it is more known and comfortable to me. I want to explore new surroundings and to get outside of my comfort zone a bit. Traveling beyond the midwest will ensure that. Our route is flexible, however, so there is definitely a chance that we'll make it to more of the midwest than Minnesota and Wisconsin. The more money we raise, the more states we can visit! If you have location suggestions, drop us a line at info@linneabullion.com.

Q: When will this trip take place?
A: We will be leaving early June and expect to be on the road for at least two months. Beyond that, the book will probably take two months to complete (around October 2014).

Q: Will I be able to see the photos you're taking even if I don't purchase the book?
A: Yes! Although the book, American, is the end goal of this project, I certainly won't be hoarding the photographs with no place to view them. I'll update my Tumblr and Instagram as frequently as I can while on the road.

Q: What will the postcards look like? Will they make me laugh?
A: a) They'll be from the various states through which we traverse. The backs, however, will look something like this:

b) If you're a human.

Q: This is a very broad concept. How will you choose subjects?
A: The beauty of a background in photojournalism and street photography is that I don't worry about not being able to find a subject. I'm going to look for "decisive moments," the ordinary made extraordinary by a camera. These moments can be found in anything from portraits, to landscapes, to animals, and beyond. Piecing together the underlying narrative in all of these images and compiling them into book format is what I love doing. Leaving the subject matter open-ended will enable me to photograph a wide range of subjects while producing a compelling final product.

Q: Will you come take a portrait of me/of my hometown?
A: Absolutely! If you're somewhat on our route, I would be more than happy to photograph you. Email info@linneabullion.com and we can try to work something out.

The Nitty Gritty

Funding will go towards:

  • Printing costs for the book––the more money we raise, the higher the quality of paper used in production 
  • Kickstarter rewards to be sent to you––including instant film for both a Polaroid 250 Land Camera + a Fuji Instax Mini, and postcards and postage 
  • Travel expenses*––including gas, camping, a National Park Pass, etc.

*Note: We will be covering our own food and trying our very hardest to minimize travel costs. We will be camping as frequently as possible to defray costs and busting down the doors of friends and family whenever they will have us.

The Rewards

While the images used in the final product, American, will be shot on a Nikon digital camera, I want to give you a tangible item that you can cherish even if you can't spend enough to reach the book level. This is why we've decided to send postcards and Polaroid photographs to our supporters! Every postcard and instant photograph will be 100% one-of-a-kind and something that you can proudly display on your wall. 

Risks and challenges

As with any trip, safety is of major concern. We will be taking many precautions to ensure that our travels can run as smoothly as possible. This will include getting the car properly checked before leaving, and maintaining proper care throughout the drive. Both Johanna and I are practiced defensive drivers and, as we have no set end date, have no qualms with taking our time driving from place to place.

One challenge I face is that of equipment failure. Everything will be insured, but on the off chance that a camera is broken, I will have to find a way to continue the journey and still produce beautiful results. I will have a backup camera with me should any problems arise.

After the trip, narrowing down the shots into a finite number of images for the book will be demanding. In fact, it's going to be brutal. And I'm going to have to be brutal on myself, but that's how you create something extraordinary. There is a narrative to be found in every collection of photographs. Once the photos are shot, it's just a matter of finding that narrative.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    27 backers

    A personalized video message from Johanna and me thanking you for your support (please note: this may or may not include us singing terribly in the car).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    60 backers

    A beautifully handwritten postcard from on the road (see Q&A section for an example)!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    59 backers

    A handwritten postcard from the road plus an original, signed Polaroid photograph taken on the trip.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    34 backers

    A handwritten postcard from the road, an original, signed Polaroid photograph taken on the trip, a digital PDF of the completed photo book, AND your name in the acknowledgement section of the book!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    6 backers

    Everything at the $50 level PLUS a signed, 8.5x11" print of a photo from the trip; you decide which!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    18 backers

    A handwritten postcard from the road, an original, signed Polaroid photograph taken on the trip, a digital pdf file of the completed photo book, a softcover, 10x8" copy of the completed photo book, AND your name in the acknowledgment section of the book!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    1 backer

    A handwritten postcard from the road, an original, signed Polaroid photograph taken on the trip, a digital pdf file of the completed photo book, a HARDCOVER, 10x8" copy of the completed photo book, AND your name in the acknowledgment section of the book!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    2 backers

    A handwritten postcard from the road, an original, signed Polaroid photograph taken on the trip, a digital pdf file of the completed photo book, a hardcover, 13x11" copy of the completed photo book, AND your name in the acknowledgment section of the book!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Everything at the $200 level PLUS handwritten postcards from every state we pass through (upwards of 30)! Additionally, you'll receive a softcover copy of the book (that's right––a hardcover AND softcover copy! Keep one for you, gift the other, or keep one next to your bed and put the other on the coffee table! The world is your oyster!).

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)