In the beginning ..
This project began by itself. I was working as a photographer for the Department of Conservation (DOC) on Stewart Island taking photos for publicity of the Rakiura Great Walk and other conservation activities that were going on. When I got back from that trip and began the huge job of processing and editing photographs taken over three solid weeks I found that there were some images to which I've kept coming back.
It’s usual for me to be excited about images I’ve taken recently – the adrenaline and buzz from being in such beautiful places is still in my bloodstream – so I usually leave them until later before critiquing them properly. Photos for me must stand the three-months-in-a-drawer test – if I can leave them alone, not think of them for a while, come back later and still be intrigued or moved by them (or even just quietly proud of getting some tricky technical bits right!), then those are the images to keep.
So I finished processing the images that were useful for DOC, and put the rest away in said drawer. Coming back a few months later I found one image in particular caught my attention. From a technical photography point of view it's not really one of the stunners; it's a fairly simple picture of windblown footprints amongst some sand dunes. From a philosophical point of view it was something of a revelation. There were seeds in the footprints - seeds from the native grasses that were struggling against the hugely invasive marram grass planted decades ago by farmers wanting to reclaim the land beyond the dunes. It occurred to me then that there was something special here.
There was something special about the idea of life being able to repair itself, that healing comes from the original inherent design and structure rather than the intervention. Just as, when a surgeon operates on a patient the incision will not heal if the patient has died, our human interventions on a land via conservation efforts cannot bring healing unless there is something about the land that is alive too. It's for this idea that my photography company was named in 2007, and it's this idea that I find most exciting about the story.
It’s a story of the tenacity of life, of design and purpose, of the importance of perspective, and of pain and decay. But over and over, again and again, it’s a story of hope. We see the processes of repentance and repair in the conservation activities, and finally from the land itself, from the life that is inherent within it, we see renewal.
About the music ...
A story this moving deserved a powerful medium to tell it, and music is that medium. I approached Peter Thomas from the ASO about the possibility of using their concerts to screen a slideshow of images with a live orchestral accompaniment. He in turn suggested commissioning Ryan Youens to compose it and here we are! That Ryan had recently visited Stewart Island was entirely coincidental, but means that he understands the raw beauty of the place – the special rawness of the rain and wind included – and so has his own memories and experiences to draw on. Ryan is a Kiwi composer who has had several pieces recorded by the NZSO. If you've seen the video then you've heard extracts from a couple of his recordings: "Somnium" and "Rakaia". You can hear more of these on his website www.ryanyouens.com.
The Auckland Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra formed in 1975 with players drawn from all parts of Auckland and from all walks of life. Directed by Peter Thomas, the orchestra’s main philosophy is that music should be enjoyed by players and audiences alike - hence the regular, free family concerts they offer. With more than eighty players, the ASO has developed a strong following and reputation for its high quality performances of popular classics, film and show music, often playing to capacity and turn-away audiences. You can read more about them and find details of upcoming concerts and events at www.aucklandsymphony.co.nz.
So now we have what we think is a great project:
- Photography from Rakiura, Stewart Is (Keri Moyle, Signs of Life Photography)
- A brand new orchestral score (Ryan Youens Music)
- Two live performances of the music set to the slideshow (Auckland
Symphony Orchestra), followed by
- An exhibition of the printed photographs and
book launch ...
... together telling a beautiful story of hope. We'd love to be able to bring it to you.
Please note that this budget only includes the BMC concert. If we are able to raise a further $1500 over this, we will be able to present this piece and the exhibition at the Town Hall concert also.
- Venue hire and projection costs: $1,172.75
- Music composition $1,760.00
- Printing and framing $2,449.65
- Display book printing $1,108.44
- Exhibition catering $1000.00
- Rewards: $2,996.34
- Kickstarter fees: $911.93
TOTAL including Town Hall concert: $12,899.10
Risks and challenges
Of course there are risks, but we reckon we've overcome the biggest ones already because the photos have been taken, the story has been composed, and the musicians are warming up already! The images are ready for printing and framing, the book is nearly finished too. Ordering lead time for the book is approximately 3 weeks as for this project we're using a digital printing system rather than offset printing which takes longer, but requires larger print runs. The orchestra begins rehearsing the other items for their two concerts (Auckland Town Hall 26th Oct, Bruce Mason Centre 2nd Nov) next week and the moment Ryan's composition is finalised it will be added to their rehearsal programme. The funding we need is for rental of projectors and exhibition space, printing, framing and music costs as detailed in the budget below.
The risks of non-delivery of kickstarter rewards is small, as again, most of them are items already in existence, or would need to be well in advance of these events taking place. Obviously we have to wait until after this campaign in order to print the book so that we can include all the names of our supporters on the last page - make sure your name is there too!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)