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Photography series of best-selling fantasy authors in custom fantasy costumes, turned into a 12-month calendar.

STRETCH GOAL: $25,000

As I mention in the video and below, $15K is the minimum to make this project happen. But, with the additional funds I can take this project to the level of awesome that I'm really seeing. Amazingly cool things often cost money, so I need as much extra funding as possible. 

What will I do with the extra money? I will attempt to line up the following for photos: renting an elephant, commission an artist to make an anatomically correct clockwork heart, renting a tesla coil and the team to operate it, get expensive, exquisite beading and leather details for the costumes to make them look rich and luxurious, donating to the zoo/rehab center for use of their owls and vulture, acquiring movie fire stunt gel so I can light someone on fire (yup, you read that right!), and much more. These things don't come cheap, and I don't know if I can get them all with the $15K budget. So please consider donating and taking this project to the level that will allow it to be as amazing as it deserves to be. 

*** 

I am ready and excited to give the world amazing photographs of famous fantasy authors in gorgeous, custom fantasy costumes, but I need your help! I’ve got the ideas, I’ve got the authors, and we’re ready to bring you the greatest fantasy calendar ever. But the costs of making over a dozen custom costumes and props, and the travel involved to shoot twelve photos all over the United States in a six-month period, would break the bank for this photographer. So I need your help to bring this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime project into existence.

This calendar will bring you twelve different photos of world-famous fantasy authors in custom costumes. Each photo will tell a story, and though they will range from light to dark in essence, overall there will be a dreamy, ethereal feel to the images. From what I’ve seen, this calendar is the first and only of its kind to bring a group like this together in such a way; this project is truly something unique.

Who am I?

My name's Lauren Zurchin. Some of you may know me from my award-winning photography, others may know me from Lytherus.com and The Inheritance Cycle Book Club podcasts on Shurtugal.com. But basically I’m a fantasy-loving bibliophile who does photography to make a living and manages a book department on a scifi/fantasy website for fun.

What’s this calendar all about? 

Earlier last year I felt the need to tackle a project that was extremely creative and different than what I did for my normal photography gigs. Feeling inspired, I decided to do a fantasy photo series. And thanks to my book and author connections, I thought who better to be the subjects of fantasy-based photos than the creators of fantasy themselves? After realizing the potential for awesome these photos had, I also wanted to make sure they were available to fans of the authors, and to the world in general. A calendar seemed like a great, accessible way to achieve that.

After months of coordinating, I've put together an amazing line-up of authors who are excited to participate in this project:

  • Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Curse Workers Series)
  • Gail Carriger (Soulless; The Parasol Protectorate)
  • Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments; The Infernal Devices)
  • Lauren Kate (Fallen)
  • Gregory Maguire (Wicked; The Oz Chronicles)
  • The Merry Sisters of Fate- a trio of authors consisting of: Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic; The Blood Keeper), Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver; The Scorpio Races; The Raven Boys), and Brenna Yovanoff (The Replacement; Paper Valentine)
  • Brandon Mull (Fablehaven; Beyonders)
  • Lauren Oliver (Delirium; Before I Fall)
  • Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle)
  • Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind)
  • Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time; Mistborn)
  • Tad Williams (Otherland; Memory, Sorrow and Thorn)

I’m going to be designing and creating custom costumes for each author, with the help of international clothing designer Nami Ogawa of Zeto Clothing, and putting together custom props that fit with the themes of the individual photos (hopefully there will be some live animals in a few of them!). I am deliberately not going with expected themes, unless the author requests it (ergo, Christopher will not be Eragon, Gregory will not be a munchkin, etc.). I don’t want to assign specific ideas to any particular author at the moment, as we’re still finalizing their individual details, but some of the ideas I’m hoping to bring to fruition are a clockwork man, a weather mage, Death, the Fates, the Spirit of Autumn, a gothic circus ringmaster, and many more.

Where is the money going?

I set the goal at the bare minimum to cover the costs of making fourteen custom costumes and all the props, and to cover my travel as I journey across the US to take twelve different on-location photographs. And even with $15,000 I'll be cutting it close. The more money I can raise above the goal, the more ornate and elaborate the costumes can be, the better the props, the easier the travel (i.e. I won’t have to camp or sleep in my car!), and I will be able to help cover some of the hundreds of hours I’ll personally be putting into this project by the time it’s done.

What’s the timeline for the project?

As soon as the goal is hit I’ll be taking off on a road trip to visit every author and take custom measurements for the costumes, which I will begin working on as soon as I get back. The shooting schedule is planned between the months of April and September 2013, which gives me time to put the calendar together and get it to the printers so it's available for 2014.

What are the rewards?

Prizes for Kickstarter have to relate to the project in some way. All of the authors were awesome enough to sign various items, like prints and posters, in a limited quantity. There are also nice combo packs with personalized items, and even a few skype chats with various authors (and me too!). If you're interested in getting one of these collector's items, make sure you move fast before they're all gone. But be sure to scroll to the end, there are lots and lots of goodies being offered! 

Why should you support this project?

This is a chance to create fantasy art with the masters of fantasy themselves as the subjects. Nothing like this has ever been done before in this exact manner. This is also a chance to see your favorite author in a new light, from a new perspective. These photo concepts are the best I've ever had in my creative life, and I feel confident that these will be the best photographs I have ever taken. 

Examples:

I wanted to have a few sample photo shoots to provide examples of both costumes and general fantasy ideas. I made both sets of costumes and props from scratch, and I shot both of these photo series the day after Christmas 2012, when the east coast got pounded by a blizzard. I was shooting in seriously adverse conditions, but I made the best of it, and I think the snow adds a nice feel to the photos. 

Shoot 1

(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)
(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)

Prep:

Here are some photos taken during the prep of the red dress costume.
Here are some photos taken during the prep of the red dress costume.

Behind the scenes:

Here's a few shots taken behind the scenes as I worked.
Here's a few shots taken behind the scenes as I worked.

Additional Finals:

(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)
(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)

Shoot 2

(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)
(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)

Prep:

Here's a few pics taken during the creation of the Winter Queen costume.
Here's a few pics taken during the creation of the Winter Queen costume.

Behind the scenes:

Here are a few images shot behind the scenes while I worked. Taken on Lake Erie Beach.
Here are a few images shot behind the scenes while I worked. Taken on Lake Erie Beach.

The antler light ball you'll see glowing in some of the dusk photos was achieved by inserting my flash into an assembled ball of antlers and triggering it slave-style with my camera, and was not applied in photoshop in post. The goal of these photos is to achieve amazing looks without extreme digital enhancement. 

(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)
(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)

Additional Finals:

(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)
(These images are copyrighted to Lauren Zurchin. Do not use without permission.)

Thanks for reading this, and I hope you consider donating to this Kickstarter. Please spread the word!

Also, you can follow me on twitter (@LaZurch) and check out my website at www.laurenzurchinstudios.com for more info about me and this project!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

To save money, I'm going to attempt to group the photo shoots into groups of three or so per trip, which should help keep costs down. The main challenges facing this project will be in coordinating each author’s schedule within a single trip. Each author I spoke with has approved a shoot between the months of April and September, allowing for a great deal of flexibility in coordinating with them. Should I face a setback with one author’s schedule, that photo shoot can be scheduled on its own with a time that works best for that author. I'm sure other things will come up, but timing is the greatest challenge. However, all of these authors are willing to work with me, so I'm not worried about getting all of the photos taken. :)

FAQ

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    30-min Skype chat with the photographer Lauren Zurchin. Chat about photography, art, the authors, the project in general, how to get a project like this off the ground, living your dreams, whatever! You'll also get a set of postcards of all the calendar author photos.

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    GREGORY MAGUIRE PERSONALIZED PACK: One 8x10 print of Gregory Maguire's calendar photo and one calendar, with BOTH ITEMS SIGNED and PERSONALIZED TO YOU from Maguire. Also, you'll get a set of all three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar, and a set of postcards of all twelve calendar author photos.

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    One 20x30 in. frameable poster print of BRANDON SANDERSON'S calendar photo, SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED by the author. Plus, computer wallpaper of all twelve author calendar photos, a set of postcards of all twelve calendar author photos, and a set of three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar. US ONLY, Sorry.

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    Ships within the US only
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    4 backers

    BOOK PACK: Behind-the-scenes book featuring all twelve photo shoots, with exclusive photos not seen anywhere else and details from my experiences with all the different authors. Also, computer wallpaper of the author photos to appear in the calendar, one 8x10 print of the author photo of your choice, set of three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar, and a set of postcards of all twelve of the author photos.

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    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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    1 backer All gone!

    CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI SKYPE PACK: 30-minute skype chat with Christopher Paolini, one 8x10 print of his calendar photo, and one calendar, with BOTH ITEMS SIGNED and PERSONALIZED TO YOU from Paolini. Also, you'll get a set of all three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar, and a set of postcards of all twelve calendar author photos.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    LAUREN OLIVER SKYPE PACK: 30-minute skype chat with Lauren Oliver, one 8x10 print of her calendar photo, and one calendar, with BOTH ITEMS SIGNED and PERSONALIZED TO YOU from Oliver. Also, you'll get a set of all three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar, and a set of postcards of all twelve calendar author photos.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    TESSA GRATTON SKYPE PACK: 30-minute skype chat with Tessa Gratton, one 8x10 print of her calendar photo, and one calendar, with BOTH ITEMS SIGNED and PERSONALIZED TO YOU from Gratton. Also, you'll get a set of all three bookmarks featuring all of the author photos from the calendar, and a set of postcards of all twelve calendar author photos.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    PHOTO SESSION PRIZE PACK: Here's your chance to get fantasy photos like the authors! You'll get a skype chat with me, where we'll discuss your photo (sorry, I can't make your costumes, but we'll plan how to achieve a fantasy look), and then I'll come to you and do a 1- hour photo shoot. You'll get a disk of all the images from the shoot, with edits done on the best three. You'll also get a calendar, the bookmarks, and the postcards, plus an 8x10 of the author photo of your choice. THIS MUST BE LOWER 48-STATES ONLY! AK, HI, and international, I CANNOT COME TO YOU, SORRY.

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Funding period

- (30 days)