Later this year I’ll be releasing Evangeline through Daylight Books, a small non-profit publisher dedicated to producing high quality, collectible editions. The monograph will be the culmination of a series inspired by Maine’s favorite poet, HW Longfellow – specifically his descriptions of Acadia in the 1847 epic, Evangeline.
Evangeline and I first met in a moment of serendipity. In early 2012 I was skimming HW Longfellow’s collected works for passages to inspire a seemingly unrelated project about his birthplace and my adopted home, Portland, Maine. Only a few days earlier I had received notice of acceptance to an artist and family residency in Nova Scotia, offered through Maine College of Art. My original intent was to photograph intertidal landscapes, but the approaching trip was about to take a much more ambitious direction.
Having no prior knowledge of Evangeline, or the Expulsion of the Acadians (the historical event upon which the poem is based) I stumbled upon the epic, and was instantly captivated. I studied up on the deportation, and read the poem repeatedly. The bitter historical facts, and Longfellow’s masterful narrative laid the groundwork for my initial exploration of the area. I went to work in the maritime province that June with words from the tale ringing in my ears.
“Firmly builded with rafters of oak, the house of the farmer Stood on the side of a hill commanding the sea; and a shady Sycamore grew by the door, with a woodbine wreathing around it. Rudely carved was the porch, with seats beneath; and a footpath Led through an orchard wide, and disappeared in the meadow.”
The mission to create a modern visual representation of the Acadia described by Longfellow in 1847 drew me back to the region four times in as many years. The poet never visited Nova Scotia, but his vivid descriptions of the landscape could not have been more accurate. And the feelings of loss and desolation that the poem evokes still haunt the region today.
“Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!”
In 1764 the displaced Acadians were allowed to return to Canada. They settled in tightly knit enclaves, and went about rebuilding their culture. Today, many of these communities are struggling economically, and populations are again declining. It’s a more gradual exodus than the violent events of the 18th century, but a tragic story nonetheless. The deserted commercial fishing ports, decaying Victorian houses, and primordial landscapes - these are all verses in my own modern tale of Acadia.
Daylight and I are underway on the design for the edition, and it is scheduled to be released this coming fall. The book will feature around 50 full color images made throughout the Acadian regions of Nova Scotia over the last four years. It will include selections of text from the original poem, vintage images and illustrations from the collections of Maine Historical Society, and a preface by prominent Longfellow scholar and author Christoph Irmscher.
With this book, I am continuing a long history of Evangeline in the printed and hard bound form. Although the book will not include the original poem in it’s entirety, it will be helping to carry on Longfellow’s legacy, and perhaps bring his work new readership. But due to the costly process of making high quality, offset printed art books, I need to raise a significant portion of the production expenses.
This Kickstarter effort is an integral part of the overall funding campaign for the book. Signed copies are available as rewards starting at the $65 level, and many tiers include a limited edition print from the project. The best value rewards include prints in handmade hardwood frames, and multiple copies of the book for $500 and above.
All prints available as rewards, except for the Thank You Card will be limited editions, and will be your choice of image. The 24"x30" print offered at the $1000 level will be an edition of 10. At the highest levels, you will be recognized in the rear of the book, if desired.
Risks and challenges
The process of making an art book such as this can be challenging, and does carry some risk. However, between Daylight's team of veteran designers and support personnel, and my own years of experience in the photography and printing industry, I don't expect to encounter anything we can't handle. By far, the most daunting task will be raising the necessary funds. So if this Kickstarter project is successful, one of my largest hurdles will be in the rearview. Thanks in advance for supporting this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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