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A beautiful, well-designed, photo book archiving a year of living from trade, told through images, interviews and stories.
A beautiful, well-designed, photo book archiving a year of living from trade, told through images, interviews and stories.
A beautiful, well-designed, photo book archiving a year of living from trade, told through images, interviews and stories.
118 backers pledged €11,194 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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BOOK: Fools With Dreams

€11,194

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The Plan

For 365 days I lived from trading. In exchange for people providing me with a bed and food for a couple of days, I would thank them by photographing something for them, and capturing the experience along the way.  

The photos I made and stories of those I traded with have culminated into a book. The Fools With Dreams Book is a 250+ page, enduring accessible record of what and how I saw for a year, accompanied by interviews with the fools I met and short essays about life along the way. An intimate glimpse into the life of a photographer, and as such, into the life and dreams of the 62 fools in the book.

The Story

Almost a year and a half ago I left my job and apartment behind to follow a dream. 

Stuck in a rut in jobs that weren’t for me, I had to get out. So I quit.

But then what? Doing nothing was no option. But being a photographer, now that was something I wanted to do for a long time. 

So I decided to go all in and put everything on photography. To put in my 10000 hours (Malcolm Gladwell) in towards becoming a pro photographer.

But how?

I came up with the idea of trading.

In exchange for people providing me with a bed and food for a couple of days, I would thank them by photographing something for them, and capturing the experience along the way.

As a test I created a quickly put together page on my website outlining the idea and send an email to a couple of my friends asking if they would be interested. 

Since their feedback was very positive, I decided to go ahead with the project. 

So after some preparations (making a website, designing a logo, checking my sanity,…) I finally “launched” the project with an article in Charlie Magazine at the end of 2015. 

So what happened next? 

Something I never expected.  

Within a few hours I received almost 100 emails of people willing to trade, and people started to share my search for interesting people and projects. A couple radio stations and newspapers even did an interview the next day which reached even more people. I couldn’t believe it.

 

So on the 1st febr 2016 I finally set off. Living from trading and traveling from interesting story to interesting story without a real home base for 365 days.

The result: The incredible stories of my 62 trades, my personal adventures and 200.000+ photos (Not all good ones unfortunately).

What started as a crazy idea had turned into a social experiment, an inspiration for others and the best learning school for photography I could have ever wished for. 

I documented each trade on the website http://foolswithdreams which reached at one point 10000+ visitors a month. 

And I had the best year of my life.

"I invited Maarten to make a portrait of the last few weeks I would be spending in the house I shared with my grandmother. He didn't only photographed the house. He captured why I want to remember it: because in those photos I also remember her. " - Anneleen Van Offel (Fool 24)

Why make a book then? 

While the website and my Instagram were a great tool to show of the images and for people to get to know the project, there is much more. 

I may have started it, but Fools With Dreams has only become what it has through the interesting people and projects I met along the way. 

A book is a great way to tell more of their stories through interviews, and provide the context around certain images. Also the things I learned along the way about people and their habits will have a place in the book. 

Furthermore, the book provides a lasting tangible memory of this crazy year.

Cool! Tell me more about this book.  

Designed by Matthijs De Block & myself, with text by Sara Theunynck it features almost 4000 (!) full-color photos spread out over 250+ pages, as well as 1 frameable print per trade. It will be printed by experts at Stockmans Printing on sustainable FSC-certified paper.

By placing all the images in the book, in more or less chronological order, you'll get an insight into the trades as a whole and a sense of time unfolding. Like walking alongside me during the project.  

The smaller images demand physical proximity and provide context in space and time for the larger ones. Meanwhile the 62 frameable prints you'll receive together with the book bring out the high quality of the photographs.

 

So… it’s a book of photos? 

While the Fools With Dreams book is filled with beautiful photos and prints (which makes for endless discovery), it’s especially about the stories these images tell. Like a visual diary of experiences.  

It’s a 250-page, enduring accessible record of what and how I saw for a year, accompanied by interviews with the fools and short essays about life along the way. An intimate glimpse into the life of a photographer, and as such, into the life and dreams of the 62 fools in the book. 

 

  

 

  

 

Whether you read it from front to back or randomly flip through the trades, the Fools With Dreams book has been designed to be an endless discovery for anyone who loves images and interesting people. We hope this book is something you can return to time and time again."

"On a rainy day, ankles in the water, I picked up a young man.. Intentional.. Pre-arranged.. I put a home, food and place to sleep in the balance, he his camera and images. Maarten looked at my grandmother, mother, daughters and myself through his lens. Life as it is.. Thanks Maarten for the images to cherish!" - Kirsten van Uffelen (Fool 27)

But who are you, and what is your vision on photography?

While I could tell you all about my hobbies and how old I am (31 by the way), there is only one thing you really need to know about me: When I do something, I go all in. I dive in head first and dedicate my full focus to what I’m doing.

So that’s why this project and book couldn’t be any different than they are.

I gave everything up to focus only on the project. I chose not to visit people but live with them. The book shows the whole adventure instead of a small selection.  

Furthermore, as a photographer, I think the opportunity is in context, not content. Just like the music industry, the future is less about owning the end product, more about the process and the experience of creating. I think photography is becoming too much of a “snapshot thing” with more and more people having cameras and the rise of instagram. I wanted to bring back the story behind the images. Also, photography is about people, so living with them enabled me to get close and get behind the “facade”.

 

Why are you raising money exactly?  

Photography and these stories only really live if they become tangible, on paper.

But presenting photos in the best way possible through print is expensive, although from the start we decided that it was important that this book would be the best version possible for everyone who would support it.

The book isn’t about making money. It’s about providing our supporters with something awesome and creating a lasting memory. 

Here's where the money will go:  

  • 30% - Design & Text - To pay everyone involved to make this the best book possible.
  • 50% - Printing - This includes proofing, binding, finishing and everything else. 
  • 10% - Shipping & Packaging - This involves shrink-wrapping the books and prints, purchasing the boxes for distribution, packing each order and renting a truck to bring the books from place to place.
  • 10% - Kickstarter Fee - The fee Kickstarter takes for hosting a project and Creditcard fees.
*** Remember, this Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we don't succeed in raising 9000 euro by June 29th the book won't be made. So there is also no risk, in that case you won't pay anything. If I make or exceed my goal then you will be charged what you pledged and you will get your fantastic rewards . ***

What about rewards?  

While you'll probably get lots of warm fuzzy feelings from supporting creative people, we know that a Kickstarter campaign wouldn't be complete without rewards. 

Here's some more info on some of the rewards we've put together for you, only available during this campaign:

*** If you want to order multiple copies or combine different rewards, just multiply / add the amounts (excl. shipping). Get in touch if you have any questions!***

*** If you get a perk with PRINT at the Kickstarter campaign of the Fools With Dreams book, I will personally contact you via email regarding your choice of print. I will help you choose the right image to fit your personality and home, as well as tell you the whole background story of your image. You can choose between any image you like on foolswithdreams.com. (See here to give you an idea of the possibilities) ***

THE BIGGEST THANK YOU EVER

Want to do a little to help out a lot? I'll beam out a virtual high-five and my eternal gratitude. Plus, you'll get all the campaign updates now and in the future.

E-BOOK + POSTCARDS + INVITE

The digital version of the book. All the images and stories on your screen.
PLUS: Printed on high-quality card stock and featuring some of my most popular images, these postcards are perfect for saying hello to an old friend, writing a love letter, or just hanging on your wall. (They even smell great!) 
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: You're invited! Come say hello at the book launch + opening expo in October. There will be drinks, photography, music and more. It'll be awesome (Location: Antwerp, Belgium). 
PLUS: The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

THE BOOK

The regular version of the book (unsigned). 
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

SIGNED BOOK + FAME + A VOTE

**LIMITED / 100** For the real fans! Get the signed version of the book. 
PLUS: Gain the official supporter status and have your name under "Thank you to the following.." in every book + the website. (Optional if you want to stay anonymous) 
PLUS: One issue we’ve come across when making the book is deciding which photo's should be on the cover. But we didn’t want to feel like we were the only ones selecting this important photo. If anything, it should be the community’s decision. So, we’ve selected a list of photos we think represent the spirit we’re trying to capture. This is all about choosing the most inspiring shot that makes you want to pick up the book. 
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

ADOPT AN IMAGE + PRINT

**LIMITED / 30** Adopt an image of your choice! Get your name listed as the proud patron of an image in/on every expo, print, website,.. Forever! 
PLUS: An open edition signed 20x30cm archival print of your adopted image, printed on Ilford Galerie or Fuji Lustre photo paper, making the images look incredibly rich. (retail €250) 
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: The signed book / Your name in the book / A vote / Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

SIGNED LIMITED EDITION PRINT (FRAMED)

**LIMITED / 10** Upgrade your art collection with a limited edition 60x80cm° archival print of your choice (°Frame size). Each print contains a certificate of authenticity, personal signature and is a limited edition of 7. Printed on Fuji Pearl or K7 Fine Art FibaPrint photo paper, making the images look incredibly rich. (retail €750)

EU + US: Delivered in a high-quality frame and with a certificate of authenticity. 

REST OF WORLD: Delivered in a protective hard cardboard tube with a certificate of authenticity ready to frame (the removal of the frame offsets the shipping costs. Get in touch if you do want a frame for personal shipping costs).

YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: Adoption of the chosen image The signed book / Your name in the book / A vote / Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

GET THE EXPERIENCE

**LIMITED / 3** Missed out during the project? Now is your chance! Support the book and experience what it is like to host a photographer for a few days. You'll get exceptional personal photographs and many stories, all for a much less than a regular photo shoot. 
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: The signed book / Your name in the book / A vote / Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

PIECE DE RESISTANCE

**LIMITED / 3**  The ultimate eyecatcher, a huge 100x150cm signed and numbered limited edition of 2 (!) that brings the awe, wonderment and adventure we seek into your precious homes and lives. Printed to the highest standards on Dibond with Fuji Pearl or K7 Fine Art FibaPrint photo paper and protected by UV resistant Lumasec Esprit acryl. Framed in an exquisite hardwood gallery frame with shadow gap and ready to hang. Certificate of authenticity included. (Retail €1400, personal delivery and a high five in Belgium)
YOU'LL ALSO RECEIVE: Adoption of the chosen image / The signed book / Your name in the book / A vote / Postcards / Invite / The biggest thank you ever / Good karma.

Why this project is so important

Fools With Dreams stands for doing things differently, challenging the status quo and making your own dreams come true or support others in reaching theirs. 

Having a goal in life, a vision, and being able to dedicate your time to it is a wonderful thing to give meaning and change your own life as well as others. The project is called Fools With Dreams for a reason, as I mostly traded with people who stand for something and work towards a goal. Whether big or small. 

I believe that in order for artists to survive and create, their audiences have the power to step up and directly support them. 

It's not always easy asking for financial support for a project, but thinking of money as another resource for creating and nurturing creativity in someone else is the greater goal we hope to accomplish. 

Like the comedian Louis C. K. said: “I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest.” 

So by getting the book, you can join the group of people who believe in the common interest of supporting people like me with a mission of creating photos and stories through connections that can’t be measured.

This is the biggest project I've ever worked on and I can't wait to take it across the finish line.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. 

It really means a lot to me. 

Thank you again. – Maarten  

PRESS KIT 

If you would like to talk about the project and Kickstarter campaign on your website, newspapers,.. the press kit below contains some bits you may need (in Dutch). If you find yourself needing more images or interviews then please send an email to mellemansmaarten@gmail.com

 

Some extra (important) info.

Timeline: We've collected most of the writing and photographs that will be featured in the book, and are more than halfway through the design process. Printing the book should be well on time to be shipped before the end of the year (Nov 2017), as will all the other perks so they would make a perfect gift during the holiday season. 

Multiple copies: If you want to order multiple copies or combine different rewards, just multiply / add the amounts (excl. shipping). 

For example: ADOPT AN IMAGE + PRINT reward (€99): You want 3 of them, delivered to Slovenia. 3 x €99 + €8 (shipping) = €305. So, adjust our pledge amount to €305! 

Not sure, or want to get something special like 3 prints and 1 book? Just get in touch at mellemansmaarten@gmail.com!

Payment options: Kickstarter only accepts creditcards. However, if you would like to pay by bank transfer (EU) or with your PayPal account, it is possible, please contact me through my email: mellemansmaarten@gmail.com

Shipping: Shipping anything as substantial as a high-quality book or print (internationally) is expensive. Please know that we've done everything in our power to make the book as accessible to as many of you as possible. 

 

Risks and challenges

Making a book of this size and quality is expensive and risky. To minimize the risk I've partnered with designer Matthijs De Block and writer Sara Theuyninck to create the best quality final product possible. I’ve also collaborated with Bruno Devos from Stockmans printing to ensure the best print quotes and get his guidance to understand the costs associated with making a book of this size.

While unforeseen issues can always arise, we feel that we're in the best position possible to create this book on time and on budget. Our promise to you is that we will always be transparent and honest about the details of the project.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About $6

    THE BIGGEST THANK YOU EVER

    Want to do a little to help out a lot? I'll beam out a virtual high-five and my eternal gratitude. Plus, you'll get all the campaign updates now and in the future and a big dose of good karma.

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    1 backer
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €19 or more About $21

    E-BOOK + POSTCARDS + INVITE

    *The digital version of the book. All the images and stories on your screen.
    *An invite to the book launch / expo opening party.
    *A personal thank you postcard as well as a blank postcard featuring an image from the project.

    Includes:
    • The e-book version.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €40 or more About $45

    THE BOOK

    *One copy of the Fools With Dreams book (unsigned).

    Includes:
    • The book.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    20 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €49 or more About $55

    SIGNED BOOK + FAME + A VOTE

    *The SIGNED, collectors edition version of the book! More than 250 pages, 4000 photos and endless stories, printed on sustainable FSC-certified paper.
    *We’ll mention your name under "Thank you to the following.." in every book + the website. (optional)
    *Help us decide which image should be on the cover of the book with your vote.

    Includes:
    • The SIGNED, collectors edition book.
    • Your name in every book + the website.
    • A vote for the cover image.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Limited 62 backers
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €80 or more About $90

    OLD SKOOL

    **only 3 available** I will expose a roll of film with my analog camera, and then mail you the roll. You will receive a one of a kind roll of film and be the sole owner of the work. You're free to print, enlarge.. any of the images.

    **Existing backer or want to combine with another reward that includes a book? Get a discount and just add €75 to the amount of your other reward.**

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €99 or more About $112

    ADOPT AN IMAGE + PRINT

    *Adopt an image of your choice°! Get your name listed as the proud patron of an image in/on every expo, print, website,.. Forever!
    *An open edition signed 20x30cm archival print of your adopted image. Retail €250 (Save 60%)

    °(first come, first choice)

    Includes:
    • The SIGNED, collectors edition book.
    • Signed 20x30cm archival print.
    • Adoption of the chose image.
    • A vote for the cover image.
    • Your name in every book + the website.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 19 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €250 or more About $282

    SIGNED LIMITED EDITION PRINT (FRAMED)

    *A limited edition 60x80cm (frame size) archival print of your choice, signed and numbered (edition of 7). Retail €750 (Save 70%)

    EU + US: Delivered in a high-quality frame and with a certificate of authenticity.

    REST OF WORLD: Delivered in a protective hard cardboard tube with a certificate of authenticity ready to frame. (--> the removal of the frame offsets the shipping costs. Get in touch if you do want a frame for personal shipping costs).

    Includes:
    • Signed limited edition 50x75cm print of choice.
    • The SIGNED, collectors edition book.
    • Adoption of the chosen image. (if available)
    • A vote for the cover image.
    • Your name in every book + the website.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 8 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge €499 or more About $562

    GET THE EXPERIENCE

    Missed out during the project? Now is your chance! Support the book and experience what it is like to host a photographer for a few days. You'll get exceptional personal photographs and many stories, all for much less than a regular photoshoot.

    °Please get in touch if you have any questions.

    Includes:
    • A trade: Exceptional personal photographs and many stories.
    • The SIGNED, collectors edition book.
    • Your name in every book + the website.
    • A vote for the cover image.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge €999 or more About $1,126

    PIECE DE RESISTANCE

    The ultimate eyecatcher print, a huge 100x150cm signed and numbered limited edition of 2 (!) that brings the awe, wonderment and adventure we seek into your precious homes and lives. Printed to the highest standards on dibond with Fuji Pearl or K7 Fine Art FibaPrint photo paper and protected by UV resistant Lumasec Esprit acryl. Framed in an exquiste hardwood gallery frame with shadow gap and ready to hang. Certificate of authenticity included. Retail €1400

    Includes:
    • Exclusive framed, signed limited edition 100x150cm print.
    • Adoption of the chosen image. (if available)
    • The SIGNED, collectors edition book.
    • A vote for the cover image.
    • Your name in every book + the website.
    • An invite to the launch party.
    • A personal thank you postcard.
    • Good karma.
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (23 days)