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I'm going to India on a voyage of discovery to explore the importance of connection and document it through photographs and video.
49 backers pledged $3,687 to help bring this project to life.

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I'm Going to India!

Ashtanga Yoga, and how I wound up with a flight to Mumbai.

4 1/2 year-old Kaiya's "Yoga Stars" song :)

I practice Ashtanga yoga, Mysore style.  For much of this year I've woken before dawn to practice between 3-5 times a week.  I decided I'd like to go to India to practice in Mysore with the head of the lineage where my practice originates.  Unfortunately, I booked my plane ticket before I applied to practice at the shala (there are strict time frames for which one can apply) and when it was my time to apply I received a response a few days later that the shala was already full for the period I will be in India.

There are a million places to practice yoga in India.  Probably, quite literally, a million.  But I was only interested in practicing at one place.  Rather than incur the costs of canceling my flight or changing my trip, I decided to push on with it.  The decision to do so has rapidly changed my expectations of what I aim to do.  Instead of staying put in one city the entire trip, I aim to see the country and do what I do best--document it through photography, video, and words.

Rama Images Portfolio
Rama Images Portfolio

The Inquiry

All of this got me wondering why I do yoga anyway.  It seems my intention is to seek connection; connection with the present moment, connection with myself, and generally improve the state of my own well being.  I started to wonder if its working, if my life has improved since yoga.  If its really the cure that I've been looking for.  And more importantly it got me wondering what other people do to connect, to let go, to feel alive.  My friend Brittany tells me she dances to get that feeling, my friend Kolton plays music for that sensation.  Everyone has their own way.  And I wondered if yoga is really what it is for me that provides that sense of connection and spontaneous release.  What else do people do?  If India is the land of finding yourself, what better land could there be to go on such an inquiry.  

The following is a video prelude to the project:

iSelf tumblr blog
iSelf tumblr blog
  

The Project, an exploration of connection

Why do I do yoga?  Why is connection so important?  Are we more satisfied when we feel connected?  What else do we do in order to feel the sense of connection?  Why is it that Americans and westerners in general travel to India to “find themselves”?  What  is it that American people can learn from India?  What is it that I can learn from India?

These are the starting questions on this voyage. I seek the expressions of these questions. I will create 3 things as a result of this project:

  • A series of digital and film images documenting these expressions
  • A concept video about 5 minutes in length exploring connection
  • A lo-res photo and text memoir printed as a 7"x7" softcover book

At the early germination stages of this project I had in mind to shoot a concept video while in India, the concept of which I had not decided yet.  But I knew I wanted to have it in mind before I left.  At that time, I went to visit my friend Lisa at Gravitational Creations in Portland and she shared this video with me after hearing about my ideas.  It is an incredibly inspiring short film and an awesome example of what I mean by 'Concept Video':

spring. (Thailand) by gnarly bay

pollenateThySelf on Instagram
pollenateThySelf on Instagram
The Voyage

I will travel around India preferably via motorcycle and train and whatever else is necessary, and I will do what I normally do--capture the experiences. I will do yoga as my heart desires. I will meet people. I will make connections. I will have a grand adventure. And you, as backers, have the opportunity to not only take part in the results of the journey, but also to shape it. I depart from LAX on Dec 30th at 2pm and arrive in Mumbai at 11:30 pm on New Years Eve. What a perfect time to start this voyage. I have until Feb 25th to explore and document connection before I fly back out of Mumbai for LAX and make my way back to Portland. I have no plans between my arrival and departure. I am wide open for discovery. Help guide me on this trip. I will post updates to my blog(s) as often as I am able so that you can stay tuned into the journey and the inquiry.

iBee on Vimeo
iBee on Vimeo

The Rewards

India is (from what I've read) a remarkable and colorful place. They say it is an assault on all the senses. I am excited to capture this color and craze and share the results with you. The options for printing I have chosen and provided here as rewards get me really stoked. I'm going to sign each one just so that the printer has to ship them to me so I can see them, too. Since I haven't taken any of the photos yet and you are pledging to buy prints that you haven't seen, I've included some landscapes from Lake Tahoe, California, to give you some faith that what you will get will be great.  

But don't take my word for it, check out this testimonial from a repeat video client of mine: 

That's pretty awesome! Mike rocks!!

Please see my portfolio for more encouragement: rama-images.com

My blog and instagram for examples of the lo-res day-to-day photos: iSelf, pollenatethySelf

And check here for a preview of the 1st book in the "Life'ing" series, also from Lake Tahoe: life'ing: season won

Examples of my video work here: ibee

How the funds will be used

Your contributions will allow me to cover the costs of traveling, the rewards, and additional equipment needed to make the project happen (like a small laptop that I can access the internet on and transfer footage to a hard drive).  The plane ticket is already booked.  Your contributions will cover my day to day expenses and the costs of getting around India.  Once the project is funded I will calculate the costs of all the gifts that received backers.  I will set aside this amount + a little padding to ensure that all the gifts can be delivered once the project is complete and I have returned from India.  

Remember, it is possible to raise more than my goal, but if the goal is not reached all the pledges are returned!  If I go over my goal enough I will be able to live my dream of touring India via Royal Enfield Bullet 350 :) 

 Special Thanks

Riley Hosea

Robert K Haddad · Crucial for the development of this project and focusing its intention.  Bob made some awesome tracks that unfortunately weren't included in the final video, keep an ear out for their appearance in an upcoming prequel . Check out his other wicked tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/justbob_0/

Brynne Bailey for doing camera, direction, and even some set dressing for the video and her generally awesome attitude :)  http://vimeo.com/brynnebailey

Deep Singh and Ikhlaq Hussain Khan (http://www.ragasitar.com/) & J. Koho (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/J_Koho/) for providing their sounds under the Creative Commons license.

Bruno Bártulitch for allowing me to use clips of his recordings of Pattabhi Jois chanting with student.  He said this about it: "Really cool! Nice project friend! I'm happy to be somehow part of it good luck and have a amazing journey!" http://www.facebook.com/bartulitch

Risks and challenges

There are many risks. I could become ill and be bed ridden my entire stay. I could crash the motorcycle or be involved in some other accident. I can have all my equipment stolen at any point. It is India after all. Any of these incidents, could however, create opportunities for exploring connection and continuing the project. I will make it happen regardless of the circumstance. I mean it is India after all, and if I have to buy new gear while I'm there I might even get a good deal. I intend to bring a small computer and hard drive to upload images and footage regularly for safe keeping.

Aside from those mishaps that might occur. The main challenge is getting it done. It is only me after all. I plan to take photographs, make a video, and create a book in a two month trip to a foreign country where I've never been and I don't speak the languages. Yes, it's a lot. But really, this is what I do every day no matter where I am, anyway. I am keeping my equipment minimal to make the process easy on myself, make getting around simple, and make myself less of a target. I shoot video and photographs with the same camera, that makes things incredibly convenient. The memoir will be made with my camera phone allowing me the privilege to keep my fancy camera out of hand and still be able to capture the day-to-day stuff.
For reward fulfillment: I already work with a printer who will create all of the printed goods. Most of these will be ready to drop ship once the photos have been selected and edited. For the stuff that takes time--the memoir, and the video--I have afforded myself a few months to get them together. For the wall size prints I work with a local printer in Portland, OR who makes beautiful and massive prints. They are my people, the experts, to make sure those images are still stunning at such a massive size.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and hear my story. Join me on this adventure of discovery and explore connections with me!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    I'll will personally send you a postcard from India just to say thanks!

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    1 Colorful 8x10 Digital Print of India
    Take your pick from the final series upon my return!

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    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    Rama Images coffee mug! 15oz white mug with Rama Images logo in black + Sticker sheet with 20 Rama Images stickers

    Ships as soon as project is funded.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    I will find and send you an authentic Indian artifact from my journey! Colorful saris, singing bowls, statues of Shiva or ganesh, hand made jewlery? Who knows what I may find and send to you!

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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    Get involved in the video! I will add your name to the opening credits of the concept video as my official Kickstarters!

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    1 Signed 11x14 black and white print of India.

    See the rich textures, the contrast, and depth of 35mm film. Hand printed by yours truly in the darkroom. These won't be available at this price after the Kickstarter.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Signed copy of my first book in the "Life'ing" series + Signed 10x20 digital print of one of the photographs from Lake Tahoe seen on this page. The book details the 6 months I spent living at Lake Tahoe, CA. As seen in the video. The book is a 7"x7" 120 page softcover journey with a brief introduction by myself and hundreds of photographs from my experience in Lake Tahoe all taken with an iphone. This book is already complete and will ship when the Kickstarter is funded. For the 10x20 print take your pick from the Lake Tahoe pictures featured on this page, in the video, and in my web store rama-images.com.
    This are ready to go and will ship before I leave for India. See http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-xZX9X for more options.

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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    Puzzles... a great way to make connections and see that everything is in its right place. 1 Original Photo Puzzle. Your choice of image from the final series!
    Large, 252-piece puzzle measures 14 inches by 10 inches and has a glossy finish. It comes in a black box with a 5 x 7 print of the image on top of the box. Box measures 5.625" x 7.625" x 1.2".

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    1 Brilliant Signed 10x15 Digital Print of India on a Thin-Wrap ready to hang board + (2) 4x6 postcards of India!
    This is the true aspect ratio of the images that allows you to see the full frame of what I've captured, no cropping. No need for a custom frame size, comes on a sturdy backing. To see what you can expect:
    http://www.smugmug.com/prints/thinwraps

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    A signed and numbered 1st Edition of "Life'ing in India" a memoir in which I will detail my personal experiences in India in words and camera phone pictures. This will be the 3rd book in the "Life'ing" series. It will be a 7"x7" bound softcover book up to 120 pages.

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    Pledge US$ 225 or more About US$ 225

    1 Signed 24"x36" (2ftx3ft!) Color Print of India + (2) 4x6 postcards with my photos of India!
    Choose your image from the final series.
    See all the detail and brilliance at this awesome size! I can't wait to see these.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Get connected!! Give me a destination! Change my route, tell me where to go, who or what to photograph and I will go there, as long as it's within India and is happening between Jan 1 2014 and Feb 24 2014. If you live in India, I will come visit you and document our connection! I will send you (2) Signed 8x10 prints from your destination.

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    Pledge US$ 325 or more About US$ 325

    Signed 16x24 Metal Print. Your choice of image from the final series. This is truly an epic way to display an image. "Dyes are infused directly into a specially-coated aluminum sheet to create a print with incredible luminescence, detail, and durability." They are float mounted and ready to hang on the wall! More info: http://www.smugmug.com/prints/metalprints

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    Pledge US$ 450 or more About US$ 450

    1 Signed 24"x36" (2ftx3ft!) Color Print of India on a Thin-Wrap ready to hang board + (2) 4x6 postcards with my photos of India!
    Choose your image from the final gallery.
    This is the true aspect ratio of the images that allows you to see the full frame of what I've captured, no cropping. No need for a custom frame size, comes on a sturdy backing. To see what you can expect:
    http://www.smugmug.com/prints/thinwraps

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    My girlfriend will tattoo your name on my leg. I'll make a video of all the names being tattooed on me and post it online for everyone to see :) I will do all the tattoos before I leave so that I will remember your names as the foundation for making this trip happen. I will also send you a signed copy of "Life'ing in India" a 7x7" softcover memoir detailing my personal experiences in India (ships June 2014).

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    Pledge US$ 800 or more About US$ 800

    Your companies logo or your name will appear under "Major Sponsors" immediately following the concept video I will shoot in India + (2) color 8x10 prints of your choice from the final series + Signed copy of "Life'ing" memoir of my experiences in India, 7x7" softcover book.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Wall Sized Print !! + (2) 4x6 postcards with my photos of India + Signed copy of "Life'ing" memoir of my experiences in India in a 7"x7" softcover book.
    A glorious size, befitting of the glorious sub-continent. Perfect for your large home or office. Your choice of image from the final series. These special prints are made on latex paper with an adhesive backing. It can literally be used as wall paper. Or it can be mounted on another hard surface to hang where you like. About 4ftx6ft.

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Funding period

- (28 days)