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Photographing and collecting stories of ENEMIES - people from opposite sides of conflicts around the world.
Photographing and collecting stories of ENEMIES - people from opposite sides of conflicts around the world.
Photographing and collecting stories of ENEMIES - people from opposite sides of conflicts around the world.
150 backers pledged $20,064 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The ENEMIES Project

$20,064

150

UPDATE!  A generous backer has offered to match all pledges in the last week of the ENEMIES Kickstarter!  If you pledge between now and when this Kickstarter ends, you will be doubling your pledge! 

* Note - Several people have expressed discomfort with financial transactions online and have written to ask about contributing with a check.  If you feel this way, please contact me through my contact page at nelsonguda.com

Summary

The ENEMIES project is about peace. 

I am traveling to past and current conflict zones around the world to photograph people from opposite sides of violent conflicts and record their stories about how they moved beyond the cycle of violence into a place of peace.  There are many, many sides to conflicts, violence and peace, and I want to see as many of them as possible in order to get a fundamental understanding of this basic human issue. 

The goal is to bring together people from opposing sides of conflicts and photograph them together. At the end of the project I plan to exhibit the photographs and their stories in the United Nations in New York City and then in capitals around the world.  In addition I will publish a book with the photographs and stories to go along with the exhibit.

A little more:  

Mainly I want to focus on people who have found peace, but I also want to hear as many perspectives as possible.  I have already met people who were active participants in conflicts as well as people who were simply swept up in a horrible situation.  In Africa I worked with people who have already been through Peace building processes or have found their own way to peace.  On future trips I also plan to meet people who haven’t yet resolved the issue within themselves.  I expect this to be much more difficult.  Conflicts are complex issues filled with history and emotion, and peoples’ experiences are equally complex.  

In this project I am working with local non-profit peace groups to help me find participants and deal with logistics. In return I am trying to help these groups by donating photographic and video work that they can use for fund-raising. 

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What have I done already?

In August through November 2011, I took the first trip for the enemies project, which I funded myself.  I traveled to the border of South and North Sudan, Rwanda and the slums of Kenya.  I blogged about much of this work and you can see it on the project website www.enemiesproject.com under the blog link.

In each of these places I worked with local or international organizations that promote peacework.  In Sudan I traveled with the US Institute of Peace on a mission to try and finalize a peace settlement for an area on the border of South and North Sudan. In Kenya and Rwanda I worked with groups associated with the Alternative to Violence project. 

I funded to first trip of this project myself, because I needed to make sure that it could be done - that I could find and bring together enemies.  Not only was it possible, but I heard more amazing stories than I had envisioned when I conceived of this project. 

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What remains to be done?

The trip to East Africa was only the beginning.  Right now my short list of potential countries to work in includes Northern Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, the Kashmir area of India/Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor, North/South Korea, Isreal/Palestine, Northern Iraq, and South Africa.  How many and which countries I visit will depend on how much money I can raise.  

How long will this take?

With enough funding I believe I can get the photographic work for ENEMIES done in about one year.  Based on my experiences in Africa, I estimate that I will need a minimum of two weeks per country, but some countries may require more time because of the difficulty of traveling there.  Planning and making connections can be laborious. In Rwanda where it is ilegal to ask people about their ethnic background, it took two months to find the right partners.  When I am traveling, communicating my work through blogging is extremely time-consuming, but I think it is hugely important. I want to be connected to you and the rest of the world while I am doing this so that people can watch and contribute to my work. 

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How likely is it that the photographs will be exhibited in the UN? 

I can’t answer that question with certainty.  I have contacts with groups who have observer status in the UN and have offered to help make this happen.  I am optimistic that it is highly likely.  A couple years ago I exhibited photographs in the US Senate Building in Washington, DC, so I have some experience in arranging and setting up exhibits in high profile buildings.  

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Is $20,000 necessary and what exactly will the money be used for?

The goal I have set for Kickstarter will cover enough to photograph a moderate number of conflicts. However, if I raise more funds I can cover more countries and get more stories, so I hope to raise more than the goal.  

Travel for this project is expensive.  As a rule I travel extremely cheaply, but when I am traveling with photographic gear I need to be more careful. In addition, some of the places I will be traveling are dangerous, and so the costs of travel can go up substantially.  In some countries I have been hosted by peace groups who assisted me in some way, such as providing me with translators. I need collaborations with these groups, but I also don’t want to take away resources from people who are struggling to do the real on the ground work of peace-making. So when there are real costs involved I prefer to pay for them. 

Many of the people I have photographed have little to nothing in the way of material goods, and so in many cases I will pay people a small stipend to cover their time or maybe simply their transportation. I frequently need to hire people as assistants and translators. In many places I have to hire a car and sometimes a driver if the area is dangerous, and international airfare is a also a significant cost.  In between visits to rural areas I need to stay in places that have some type of internet connectivity so that I can keep the work connected to you. These costs add up quickly and make this type of work expensive.

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About the Rewards

ENEMIES Project Peace Bracelets - I commissioned these handmade bracelets for the ENEMIES project from artisans in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. I worked in Kibera photographing people who had been involved in the 2007 post-election riots. These bracelets provided some needed financial support for people who live in a place where it is normal to earn only a few dollars a day.

I am giving these bracelets to everyone who contributes at the $20 level and above. Below are pictures of the bracelets - on one side is the Kenyan flag. There are two different sizes, so please note whether you have generally small or large hands. I have 250 bracelets. If I get more than 250 backers I will have more bracelets made, but it will take several months.

Samburu Spear - For large donors I brought back a dozen spears from the Samburu people who I photographed in Northern Kenya.  I will upload a photograph of these soon.  If I have more than a dozen large donors, I will have additional spears shipped from my friends in Kenya. I know that it is pretty ironic to give a spear as a reward for a peace related project.  I can't explain more than to say that it is part of my looking at both sides - the pain and the efforts to recover from it.  And... they are cool.

Delivery Time of Rewards - This is a large project. It will take a minimum of a year to complete, so please understand and be patient that some of the rewards may take time to get to you. 

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What can you do to be involved other than financial support?

Of course financial support is what I need the most, but I this project is huge and I can use all kinds of help. Do you have connections in countries that have been in violent conflict?  More connections are always better so you can help by introducing me to people who might be interested in participating in my project.  Do you know of a business that might be interested in supporting this project?  Maybe you have suggestions for locations for me to photograph a conflict.  I’m willing to entertain ideas from people.  

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Do I have any other ideas for this project?

Sure, tons of them!  If I get the photographs exhibited in the UN, I would love to get an airline to fly the people from the photographs to NY for the opening.  These are normal people, not diplomats, and I think it would be powerful to have a group of people from opposite sides of conflicts around the world address the UN about their experiences.  Is this possible?  I think so, and I will try to make it happen if I can. 

What are the end products of the project?

I see this project as having layers of products that come from it.  The act of bringing people together and communicating those stories is a product in itself. The photographs and stories that I will exhibit are a major product and should end up as a book. I also see the photographs as raw materials rather than ends on their own. The final works I create from this material will be individual hand-worked pieces that include photographs and stories.

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Why on earth would anyone do this, and how do you know I will finish it?

I can’t explain why I need to take on big projects like this.  Maybe the simplest explanation is that I am an artist and have a tendency to work to obsession.  In my last major project about roadless forest lands in the U.S., I photographed National Forests across the country.  As a part of this project I designed and built a website that dynamically maps all the roadless lands in the country.  At the time there weren’t any good ways to quickly map and query that much data on a website, so I taught myself how to program and designed a system to do it.  The site is still up - it is called Roadlessland.org.  In former lives I have gotten a PhD and helped start an institute at a major university.  Will I finish this project?  Not counting time, I have already invested a lot of my own money into ENEMIES.  But even more importantly I think this is an important thing to do.  In my mind I can’t not finish it. 

This is me with a group of Samburu warriors in northern Kenya.  I was photographing Samburu and Turkana people who have been in conflict for generations.

One more thing... the music in the video is by Ryan Rebo. Check him out on his facebook page.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You will added to my personal list for email updates that include more details about my trip and extra images that don't make it into the blog or into the website. You will be acknowledged on the donors page of the ENEMIES Project website AND... you will recieve my eternal gratitude and be flooded by a wonderful light feeling as good karma swirls around you.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You will receive a personal postcard from my travels sent from abroad, and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward.

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    15 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Austinites! New $10 reward for Austinites. If I don't have to mail a bracelet you can get a ENEMIES peace bracelet at this reward level in addition to all the other $10 stuff. See the description for a picture of the bracelet.

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    8 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Special reward - A handmade bracelet made for the ENEMIES project by artisans in the slums of Nairobi (see the picture in the description). Plus you get all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Note: I had 250 bracelets made in Kenya. If I have more than 250 backers, I will have more made and shipped, but the delivery date will be later for those. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    43 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A 12-month calendar with images from the project. You will also get the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    24 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive a large 13” x 19” premium calendar that includes stories from the project and an ebook suitable for your iPad.

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward.

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    7 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A 10" x 8" soft cover book with photographs and stories and an ebook version suitable for your iPad.

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A 10" x 8" soft cover book and ebook ($150 reward) plus the standard calendar ($100 reward).

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A 24” x 36” signed print on art paper suitable for framing and a standard calendar. Your name will also be acknowledged on a donor board in all the exhibits of the project.

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    4 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    12” x 12” signed hard cover coffee table book and a signed 16” x 20” print on art paper suitable for framing.

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Your name will also be acknowledged on a donor board in all the exhibits of the project. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    2 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    A 12” x 12” signed hard cover coffee table book and a signed 24” x 36” print on art paper suitable for framing. At this level you will also receive a gift of a spear from the Samburu people I photographed in Kenya (see description for a photograph). Personal text list: if you are interested I will add your mobile number to my short list and send you occasional updates, tidbits, thoughts etc by text when I am traveling. This is a special list - I don’t do this for many people.

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Your name will also be acknowledged on a donor board in all the exhibits of the project. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    0 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    I will fly to your house (U.S. only unless I am traveling in your area), have dinner with you and your friends, regale you with stories from my travels, give a slide show and hand deliver a book and signed 30 x 40 print along with a Samburu spear from the tribe I photographed in Northern Kenya (see $1200 level). If you wish you will be added to my personal text list (see $1200 reward).

    Plus the ENEMIES peace bracelet (see $20 level) and all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Your name will also be acknowledged on a donor board in all the exhibits of the project. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

    At this level you may also negotiate your own reward including speaking at events or any other ideas you may have. If it sounds reasonable, I am totally happy to work with you.

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    1 backer
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    I will give a weekend photography workshop for you and up to five friends. In the workshop I can talk about the art of photography, technique and use of computer editing tools. I will fly to your house or wherever you want to have the workshop (within limits). Along with the workshop I will hand deliver a signed print of the size you desire, a 12” x 12” coffee table book and bracelets for each of the participants. If you wish you will be added to my personal text list (see $1200 reward).

    At this level you may also negotiate your own reward. Perhaps you would like to meet me in one of the countries where I am photographing people. If it sounds reasonable, I am totally happy to work with you.

    Please understand that the delivery date for a workshop will be entirely dependent on my travel schedule and your schedule.

    Plus all the acknowledgement and good karma from the first reward. Your name will also be acknowledged on a donor board in all the exhibits of the project. Please specify large or small hands for the bracelet.

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    0 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Business Sponsorship: Become an Official Sponsor of the ENEMIES Project by sponsoring one of the countries I will travel to - your brand ad will appear for one month on the blog in a premium position.

    Your business and/or personal name will be acknowledged on the Sponsors page of the project website, the final project book and all exhibitions. You will also receive a signed book, a signed print and ten bracelets for members of your business

    At this level you may also negotiate your own reward. If it sounds reasonable, I am totally happy to work with you.

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    0 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    At this level you are royalty. Look at the rewards above and consider what you would like. If you are in decent physical condition, think seriously about joining me for a bit of time on one of my photographing trips. I won't take you anywhere dangerous. Please understand that this kind of travel is not necessarily fun or comfortable, but it could be a once in a lifetime experience.

    Delivery date would of course be entirely dependent on what we negotiate.

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Funding period

- (46 days)