Challenge people’s perception of photography, what it is, has become, and how we engage our physical environment to interact with it.
Hi my name is André Hermann. I am a visual storyteller, educator, and avid iPhone shooter. One day, as I was experimenting with printing my iPhone images using an historic photo process, an interesting question surfaced. We have become so rooted in a digital way of life, what happens to all of these images that we are creating with our camera phones? Do they get stored on hard drives, or, dumped and lost in online photo sharing site feeds never to be born into a physical form?
What has our experience with photography become as a culture? Has the art of photography been boiled down to the act of sitting at a computer, or phone in hand, editing, the intimacy of sharing an image lost to a click of a send button, our emotional reactions to those images substituted for the clicking of a like button? A photograph is physical. It is the very thing that makes photography, well, photography. So what has photography become? What does it continue to be?
Armed with this idea and inspiration, I set out to design a series of limited edition photo books featuring my iPhone street photography, hiding them in random locations throughout the city of San Francisco, California for people to find.
This project originally started as an experiment. My intention was to challenge people’s perception of what photography was, what it has become, and how one would engage photography, and their physical environment. Would people be interested in engaging a foreign or possibly familiar environment to find a free photo book? Was there still value in the tangible as it related to the art of photography? By challenging everyone to go out and find these books my intention was to include everyone in the book making process. I would be helping everyone to create a personal interaction with the book in a way that would create a memory of an experience that is far beyond the experience of purchasing a book online, in a bookstore, or interacting with one on a tablet. Everyone loves a treasure hunt and the thrill of finding and exploring new places, sights and experiences. Once I engaged people, and they were successful, they now had a numbered book that no one else would own, containing a memory of an experience unique to each person.
Two unique series of 20 books were hidden and found on the streets of San Francisco and New York City. After much success, and positive press on this hidden book project, and after receiving a multitude of requests to hide books in other states, I have decided to take this project on the road, and share this unique experience with as many people as I can across the US. This is where I need your help.
My goal is to travel across the U.S. hiding 15 different limited series photo book collections in 15 different cities. I could easily choose the cities myself but what fun would that be? How am I going to choose the cities? I’m not. You are. With a minimum donation of $5 you will be rewarded 1 “pin” to place on the map. The more you donate the more pins you get to place on the map, of course, there are also some really amazing awards available at each donation level. At the end of the 30 days the cities with the most pins will have a place on the route, and a series of photo books hidden in that city.
These photo books will continue to be custom made, signed and numbered. Each city will have its own unique series. Similar to the San Francisco book series I plan to challenge people’s perception of printed photography and the value we place on the photo books, our experiences, memories, and how we engage our environment when faced with a challenge to find something hidden. So please help make this campaign successful. Get everyone you know together who you think may need some excitement in their life to donate and help bring a series of books to your town or city. Believe me, you’ll never have an experience like this going to a physical or online bookstore. So help fund it so I can hide it and you can seek it.
If you're curious to know more about this project please click through the following links. The story was featured on the NY Times Lens Blog, APM's nationally broadcasted radio program "The Story" and Travel & Leisure Magazine's travel-blog.
Yes, you actually have two choices. You can choose which image you receive or you can be surprised by what I choose randomly for you. Either way, you win.
If funded I plan to begin the trip the first week of January 2013 and will continue travelling through the month of January until all books are hidden.
I've just donated and have pins to drop on a map. Where do I find my pins and how do I place them on the map?
I use a google map online to keep track of where everyone is donating from. Once you donate I will contact you by email thanking you for the donation. I also will ask you for the name of your city and state so I can drop the pins for you. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to allow to drop them yourself. So this is the next best thing.