UPDATE: This project has reached its minimum funding goal - a grateful thanks to my backers! There is still time for other interested participants to get involved!
Digital camera - $600.
Plane ticket to Kuwait - $1500.
Body Armor and Kevlar helmet - $1800.
Embedding alongside US soldiers at war in Iraq - Priceless.
But...printing a full-color book documenting this time in Iraq, and telling and showing the stories of those soldiers - About as expensive as all combined.
"Can't Give This War Away: Three Iraqi Summers of Change and Conflict" will be a book of photos and essays that document my trips to Iraq from 2007 to 2009.
In other forms, this work has appeared in daily newpapers across the country, such as the Buffalo News, Bakersfield, Ca. Californian, Worcester, Ma. Telegram, and many others. The photographs have been displayed in museums and other venues.
Publication of this book will enable me to contact agents and publishers with a visual introduction to my work, as I continue working toward full publication of a much longer manuscript. However, in the short term, "Can't Give This War Away" will provide a colorful and dramatically visual presentation of soldiers in Iraq, in up-close and personal photography rarely seen in newspapers and other media outlets.
Funding rewards will bring this book to my Kickstarter supporters, in several different forms. In a short-run publication, photo books are expensive to produce - but can still be the high-quality equal of any coffee table art book purchased in a book store.
The funding received through Kickstarter will enable me to do the following:
1. Produce approximately 50-60 paperback copies of approx. 120 pages, in 8x10 landscape format, on high-quality glossy paper.
2. Promote my work in a professional and visually compelling style. Most will go to agents and publishers for promotional use, while I continue working on the full manuscript.
3. Bring my photos to published life, most for the first time. For many of the photos, this will be the first and only time they are published. Even if published by a major publisher, it's doubtful that as many photos would be used as I will be able to include in this edition.
4. Through copies earned by funding rewards, bring copies of this work to a small, but hopefully growing, audience. Supporters will have access to different levels of printing quality - but the work and photo quality wil always be the same high quality!
For those helping to fund this project through Kickstarter, several editions of this book will be produced, as noted in the list of funding rewards:
A PDF version that I email to funders. This will include all the written and photographic content, and would be printable by the recipient.
A "basic edition" of approximately 80 pages, printed in 7x7 paperback format. This would not include all of the photographs or text (but you would get the PDF with all content).
A "deluxe edition" of approx. 120 pages, as noted above.
For funders at the higher end of support, some versions of the book will be printed in hardcover, with photographs included that are unique to that single edition. Other rewards will include signed prints of various photographs, printed thanks within the book, and in some cases, unique "thank you" pages actually printed within the book itself.
Because of the short-run printing costs, only at the $75 funding level is it feasible to provide a printed copy of the actual "deluxe edition." This, however, will enable me to use your funding support to produce the "deluxe" copies for my own promotional use, and hopefully your support will eventually bring the stories and photos to a larger audience. All I can say is that if the full book was ever published in a truly professional form, I would not forget any of the Kickstarter funders that helped me get that far; I'd like to think you'd hear from me again!
Funding at the lower levels means you still get a PDF copy of the work, or even a signed print of one of the museum-quality photographs. And at any level of funding, you have my thanks! The hard part of this work is finished! I already went to Iraq, already took these pictures, and already wrote most of the content. My funding goal will enable me to transform already-existing rough product into a professional, finished form. I anticipate printing these copies and rewarding funders within 90 days of successful funding. That's not a promise, but it is an expectation.
Finally, through this work, you are supporting a visual and written record of soldiers at war. As the United States prepares to depart Iraq, it might be hard to remember that our national committment there is nearly 10 years long - more than 20 years, if you date back to 1991's Desert Storm.
When soldiers return from overseas, they take off their uniform and blend back into society; maybe it will be hard to remember what these men and women looked like when they were young and at war in a place very far from home. I hope these photographs and stories help an audience appreciate and understand what it looked and felt like during these three summers in Iraq where the temperature rarely dipped below 125 degrees and a stubborn enemy rarely stood and fought.
It was not a good place to be, but for a good chunk of their youth it's a place these soldiers chose to be, on behalf of their country and all of us. But even though we're leaving Iraq, and think we've handed control back over to the citizens of that country, we can't wash our hands of it; we might think we can, but we can't give this war away.
- (40 days)