In an old dusty Georgian car market, my brother and I found ourselves negotiating over a beat up Mitsubishi Pajero with two decades worth of dents and scratches. It had a broken door, no air-con, and a quarter million kilometers to it's name. It was perfect, we knew it would take us exactly where we needed to go. Over the next three months, we would drive Caspar 11,942 kilometers, venturing deep into the forgotten lands of Karakalpakstan, traversing some of the world's highest roads in the Pamir Mountains, and crossing the largest inland body of water, the Caspian Sea (the namesake of our car).
For many (myself included), Central Asia is just a large area on the map full of places you're not sure how to pronounce. A century of Soviet occupation cast the region in a shroud of secrecy, which since the fall of the Iron Curtain, has scarcely been lifted. The surprising reality is that for much of human history, the region was considered the center of civilization, consisting of trade routes threading their way from Europe to China. Overland; Through the Middle of the World, will take the reader on a visual journey across these almost forgotten lands. This large format coffee table book is an exploration of the culture, nature, and history of the people and places that range from Istanbul in Turkey, all the way through to the far reaches of Inner Kyrgyzstan.
One of the main stylistic intentions of Overland is to draw aesthetic similarities across vastly differing subject matter, exposing parallels grounded in the universally shared human experience.
Along with history and culture, Overland draws from the stories of the people to immerse the reader deeper into the landscape. Such is the case with our time spent with K, a shepherd of the sparsely populated Ustyurt Plateau of Western Kazakhstan. Known to be one of the least hospitable environments on the planet, temperature swings of up to 100°C have been recorded between summer and winter months.
Or the stories of the people of Bulunkul. A town of 306 that has long survived nestled in the High Pamirs. Affectionately known as Central Asia's coldest town, they own little more than yaks, yet require nothing else to thrive in an environment of absolute extremes.
In between these stories, Overland will be filled with landscape focused photography that has been created in a minimalist, yet dynamic style with the intention that each photograph will magnify the emotions drawn from the subject.
The Overland book will be between 120-140 pages sized at 24x30cm. One of the books unique features will be that compared to the majority of coffee table books created today, Overland will be using premium quality uncoated paper. Unlike it's coated counterparts, uncoated papers have a rough, yet inviting touch to them, a trait that invariably creates a more tactile experience. Something I consider to be largely important given that unlike off a screen, print is a sensory experience that goes beyond the visual.
A Note on Sustainability
The paper of the Overland book will be made by the good people of Mohawk Fine Papers. For generations, this family run business has been leading by prime example in the creation of sustainably sourced fine art paper. The specific paper I am using is FSC certified 100% recycled paper that has been created using only wind powered electrical energy
A Special Kickstarter Reward
As part of my gratitude for you, the great people who want to help bring the project to life. A pre-order of the book will come with a high quality limited edition slipcase, with the back of the case naming every 'backer' from this Kickstarter.
A Note on Finance
As Kickstarter is an all or nothing campaign, they recommend setting your financial goal to the minimum required to get your project off the ground. This is what I have done. Below is based on current estimates and a successful $27,000 campaign.
Kickstarter fee of 8-10% = $2160-2700.
Minimum expenditure at the printing factory = $14000
Shipping costs of $20 per, required minimum of 360 copies = $7200
Collector's edition wooden box + cards cost per order = $180
Contingency line of 10% = $2700
Extra Video Content!
If you're interested in seeing a little more of what will come in the book, I created short videos of each chapter of our journey. The video below is part 3, which goes from Western Kazahkstan through all of Uzbekistan. Click the links below to check out the other five chapters.
Risks and challenges
There are 3 stages of risk / challenge that come along with a project like this.
1. Gathering the required content to create the book.
- This stage has already been completed, so there are no longer any risk / challenges involved here.
2. Designing a quality book
- In order to fully do justice to this project, I have given myself a 6 month period of working full time to bring this project to it's full potential.
3. Printing the book
- As far as this challenge goes, high print fidelity and total quality control are the goals. For this I have total confidence that my choice in printers (Magnum Offset Printing) will deliver beyond expectations in every facet involved. Just as they have been doing for over 30 years with a massive range of printing products.
- (30 days)