Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 7, 2012.

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a photoessay documenting the promise of a new day in a landscape of destruction

My name is Tanya, and I am not an artist, I am just a graduate student with a great cell phone camera. My video is not that great, I know. I tried, several times. But I am not a movie star, I am a theoretical physical chemist. Please, don't let my nerdy video stop you from looking at my photos, if only to be dazzled by recent advances in cell phone camera technology. But I hope you look closer, because there's a pretty interesting story here, too.

UPDATE, May 18 - It turns out, this kickstarter is actually about publishing a book to fund this exhibit, only I didn't realize it until after I launched my project. I just added a new reward! At the $50 level, you can now receive a copy of my hardcover book of photos. Read on, or see update #1 for more details.

On April 27, 2011, everything radically changed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in a matter a a few minutes. This is what I saw when I walked out the front of my house:

Thousands of homes were destroyed, 53 people died, and a lot of people lost everything they had. The house I live in was only half destroyed, so I am one of the lucky ones. I know a lot of people not so lucky. After all the rescues were completed and all my neighbors and the volunteers and national guard went away, I stayed and lived nearly alone in my neighborhood in my half-destructed house, rescued stray tornado cats and kittens, and watched the trackhoes and boom trucks clear the debris that used to be my entire neighborhood, lot by lot. And I took a lot of photos when I was out walking my dogs or checking on the ducks at the lake. 

I have a very large number of photos, which have been selected for exhibit in August 2012 in a local gallery. I need some tools to build the exhibition of my tornado photos, some with tornado debris I salvaged from the rubble, and some others to be archival framed by a professional. I want these photos to be out there on their own in the world for a really long time. So that when this whole tornado thing is long in the past and we’re all really old and Forest Lake came back so long ago that almost nobody remembers when we were coming back, people always remember what we came back from.

The City of Tuscaloosa selected one of my photos to be used on the poster for the one year anniversary memorial service.

Several of my photos were on display in the entry of the coliseum where the service was held. These are the photos that are being offered as rewards, available only to kickstarter backers. These photos will never be offered for sale again:

I should mention, these photos look *great* printed and framed. Cell phone cameras have come a long, long way.

Also, I have a little book I put (am putting) together. Living in the heart of a destruction zone is a different life than any other I've ever known. Here's a nice example, it's a pretty nice story about getting my power back after living with no electricity for 2 weeks. Really, this book thing could probably be it's own kickstarter, except it's mostly done and all I need to know is how many copies to print. It should be a pretty nice little book.

I wanted to share an accurate visual description of what happened to my neighborhood with people on facebook. When the gardens in the neighborhood started blooming, I did not want to be the only one there to see them. It was hard to see anything nice to look at, but I wanted people to actually look at and see what disaster really looks like up close and in person. And also to share an understanding of what life was like in the months directly after the storm, after the story had vanished from national headlines. You just never really get used to driving on streets that used to be lined with trees and houses but instead are lined with piles of rubble so high it's practically a tunnel. It seemed important to remember, people used to live here and have gardens here, this place is still a pretty nice place, it just needs a little bit of cleanup.

I set the "funded" threshold low at $1000, because honestly I need any funding I can get to build this exhibit. Any overfunding will just make this show better - I have 10,000 photos to choose from, so it's pretty difficult to narrow down. Also I should say, I am ending this specifically on my birthday. The only thing I want this year, is for my project to be well-funded. This project could cost 10 times the funded threshold, and it is going to happen no matter what. Backers who can only support with $5 or $10 are the most important to me personally, because I hope to infect as many people as possible with an attitude of optimism.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day.

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    3 backers

    One unmatted 4x6 (matted fits standard 5x7 frame) Kickstarter Limited Edition print, "Butterfly" from the memorial series, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    1 backer Limited (99 left of 100)

    One signed 11x17 poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition. (shipping is included in all rewards)

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    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Lantana" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Sunflowers" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Crepe Myrtle" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Quiet Now" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Iris" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print, "Ducks" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Iris" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Ducks" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Sunflowers" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Lantana" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    3 backers

    NEW REWARD, Added May 17! One hardcover book of photos from the first 30 days living in the destructed zone (now known as the recovery zone.) Some of those photos will likely be in the show, but most will not. There's a few good stories from those early days. This WILL NOT BE a kickstarter special edition with extra pages, this is just the regular version of the book. It will still be totally worth it. Signed, of course. Plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Quiet Now" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    One unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print, "Crepe Myrtle" from the memorial service series, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    13 backers

    One hardcover book of photos from the first 30 days living in the destructed zone (now known as the recovery zone.) Some of those photos will likely be in the show, but most will not. There's a few good stories from those early days. This will be a kickstarter special edition. It will be totally worth it. Signed, of course. PLUS...one unmatted signed 5x9 (matted fits standard 8x10 frame) Limited Edition print of the original "Butterfly" from the memorial service poster, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    2 backers

    One hardcover book of photos from the first 30 days living in the destructed zone (now known as the recovery zone.) Some of those photos will likely be in the show, but most will not. There's a few good stories from those early days. This will be a kickstarter special edition. It will be totally worth it. Signed, of course. PLUS...one unmatted signed 9x13 (matted fits standard 11x17 frame) Limited Edition print of the original "Butterfly" from the memorial service poster, PLUS one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Ducks" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Iris" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Quiet Now" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Lantana" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Crepe Myrtle" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Sunflowers" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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    Signed and matted archival quality framed print, "Butterfly" from the August exhibition at Kentuck, plus one signed poster from the City of Tuscaloosa Memorial Service on the first anniversary of the tornado, plus your name listed in the backer's list on display at the August exhibition.

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