These photographs are about life. Surrender to the open road. At this moment, we are merely spawn in the scape of time – “Hello America” is our new frontier.
In honor of a medium we are intoxicated by, we are on our journey to create a pure analogue book of what the American road is in the year 2014.
Let us tell you a little about Kickstarter - Kickstarter is a beautiful platform used to raise funding for creative endeavors. It is an all or nothing campaign. If we do not raise our goal of $7,000 before our end date, our analogue journey will receive zero funding.
Kickstarter also has a remarkable platform for donors. This is another reason we choose to fundraise here. We have partnered with artists around the country. When you pledge, you in return receive beautiful prizes. Prize detail and photographs can been seen at the bottom of our page.
We have budgeted our goal specifically. We know traveling across America photographing on digital would be far (far) less costly, yet here we are.
THE FILM BREAKDOWN:
- One roll of film = $7
- Developing the negative = $7
- Scanning = $8 (without prints)
- Per single roll we are spending nearly $22. Add in prints and you're looking at $30 a roll.
1 roll = 36 pictures
Other large expenses include:
Fuel to travel 12,000 miles through the country, maintaining our travel mobile, props and lighting for photo shoots, camera repairing and rewards for our wonderful donors.
We have worked hard to bring you rewards we are proud of. Check out the full description of each reward at the bottom of the page.
This form of photography is expensive, yet we believe in film. It is an imperative part of life for us. It has allowed us to capture the world the way our natural eye experiences it.
It is my hope that film does not disappear in the 21st century, yet there is a chance our children will never hold a 35mm camera. Never know what 120 film format is.
This is our story. It is the birth of love and new life and it is good. Today we set our sights on this kickstarter - a project we have mulled over and thought extensively about for many years in the making.
This project will work very specifically - documenting the American road in analogue form by way of 35mm, 120, instant and 8mm. We will be photographing people, places, terrain… everything.
At the end of our four month, 12,000 miles, we will begin editing and composing our book titled "Hello America."
The funds raised through this kickstarter will go to the purchasing of:
- film and developing
- fuel for our 12,000 mile drive (our map lives here.)
- reliability in a vehicle to take us around the country
- beginning phases of our book: Hello America
This project, like so many projects, is years in the making.
In May of 2013 Megan was ready. Amidst four years of my asking, and re-asking, she came to me on a sun soaked day and said, "I want to travel the country. I'm ready now."
At nineteen, in the winter of 2010, I (with my dearest friend Amelia) made way with a pack on my back and $50 in hand from Florida to an amtrak station in New Orleans. We road 52 hours to Yuma Arizona, hitched two hours to Niland California, hitched another 30 minutes to the Salton Sea and arrived at Salvation Mountain.
We had to see it, and for that day, it was ours.
This trip bestowed upon me an understanding no lecture hall nor middle-class suburban upbringing could foster. I noticed an itch in my feet, one I could not scratch. It was a divine desire to bathe in the open road. I was young but not dumb and the brewing of documenting life on the road became my rising sun.
So for four years I buzzed in Megan's ear - I told her of this itch I could not scratch. It would rummage through by body like a toxic eye, like a rusted piece of metal that need be removed. Not a university, nor writing, nor interning nor working could purge that vile metal from my body.
Around this time a very old, very precious Canon AE-1 was placed in my hands. Film photography became my scapegoat. As long as I could shoot the world sans digital altering, sans computer editing, sans a plastic eye, that sharp metal disguised itself into a pocket of my stomach, and for that time, it didn't cause too much discomfort.
I graduated and moved from New York City to Austin Texas to photograph bands for music publications. I would stand in the photo pit with other photographers, very established photojournalist who had been in the business for decades, most with their DSLR's. I was a laughable sight in this crowd with my Canon AE-1. And Yet.
I captured images my true eye saw - the grain, the unexpected light leak, the melting colors of the sun at noon.
I began traveling across the country covering music festivals. From Tennessee to the swamps in Florida, I found comfort in photographing musicians when I was on the road.
I wasn't yet fulfilling my ultimate desire to shoot the full and vast American landscape, but it was a beginning. As time continued, I found my subjects changing - I began photographing the crowds, the terrain, the expression in a face. This documentary photography gave me freedom - a freedom to capture true and honest life in the emotion of movement.
My work became my home. The road became my bed. The people i met, my community.
So now we come to last summer when Megan, my sister not by blood but by heart, told me, after years humoring my wild wanderlust banter, she was ready to take to the road - but that it would be different than I had always spoke about. The two of us on the road would not be two.
She wanted the trip to be her honeymoon with Josh (whom she was not yet engaged to.) As the Stewart's story unfolds they were engaged a month and a half later and married under the stars last November - so two became three, and I was overwhelmed with blushing excitement about this development. The change was good, and I could feel it in my bones.
In the midst of this change, I fell in love. Matt came to me four years before and played a vital roll in my growth. One bright day we found ourselves in full adoration and we've not left each other's side since. I don't think we ever will.
Matt too is a lover of film photography - when I first picked up my Canon AE-1, there were five others who did so as well and he was one of them. Hello America has become his home too.
And that is how three became four.
We will be traveling with a trailer and car camping tent - both already purchased.
We will not stay in hotels. We will only lodge with friends, in tent or trailer. This part is critical to relieving ourselves of creature comforts. Our desire is to live clean and simple while on the road. To take as little material as possible and give back by creating photographs that exemplify all that is America. So, "Hello America," we can't wait to meet you.
Our website includes film photographs of our past travels in addition to words about the states we love. We will be blogging our trip in full. Please enjoy over at Hello America.
Though we shoot film, we will be documenting our progress via instagram while on the road for our supporters. Please follow us @helloamerica_ for updates.
We are a community of artists. Our friends are scattered across America and are doing brilliant things. Here is the Hello America Team, each a stop on our tour, with whom we've created rewards we believe in and are proud of.
This is not an auction. The reward level you pledge is the gift you will receive from us as a thank you for your generous support!
Reward 2: The Nomad Patch
North Montanita is a travel brand based out of Toronto. Inspired by the open road and the contemporary nomad, North Montanita combines design, printmaking and wearables to represent life on the road. Handmade in Canada.
Reward 3: Hello America Mixtape
Kristen Blanton is a music photographer. She has compiled a "Hello America" mixtape that Hello America will be listening to on road.
Reward 4: Hello America Postcard Bundle
Our postcards are a combination of the photography of Matt Jozwiak, Megan Stewart, Kristen Blanton and Lindsay Brown. All postcards are made by our friends at Artifact Uprising - their recycled materials and beautiful aesthetic have inspired us to make postcards for you good people. The photographs were each taken when on the road.
Reward 5: Hello America T-Shirt
Luke Lupori is an artist who resides in Austin Texas. Barry McGee's face is tattooed to his calf, and with reason - Lupori's ink drawings, logo designs and graffiti is highly influenced by McGee and Pat Perry, though Luke lives within his own space of artistic expression.
Reward 6: Hand Painted Ukulele - By Raven Wilson
Raven Roxane Wilson was raised on the gulf coast in what she once thought to be a zoo, but would later recognize it as an artists paradise. This paradise, her home, per playground and sweat lodge is better known to the public as The Zoo Gallery, a breathtaking art gallery 40 years in the making.
She studied at Auburn University receiving a BFA with a concentration in painting. Along this journey through life, Raven has settled in Charleston, South Carolina where she is constantly stimulated to paint. Her studio is in Charleston at Redux, another artists paradise.
Reward 7: Captain Matt Takes You Out for a Day on the Gulf Coast
Matt Jozwiak has been driving boats since he was a young boy and when he realized he could do it for a living he said, "I'll take it!" As a Florida native he can get you up close and personal with dolphins, take you to the best snorkeling spots the Emerald Coast has to offer and show you an ideal Florida sunset - you and up to 5 others get to spend the day with Captain Matt and experience all this from a privately owned 21ft center console Sea Hunt. Matt has his USCG 100 ton masters license and has worked as a boat captain on the Destin harbor for four years.
Reward 8: Workshop Film Photography 101: Kristen Blanton
Kristen Blanton spent her last year of college in New York City photographing bands for Paste Magazine and working at the analogue store Lomography. She now works and lives in Austin Texas. Last year alone she covered SXSW, Psych Festival, Bonnaroo, Hangout Festival, Utopia Fest and ACL - all shot exclusively on 35mm and 120. She will teach you all things film and once you feel comfortable, she will take you to a location of your choice where you will shot for an hour. Bring your own camera or borrow hers and she will provide you with film.
Reward 9: Zoo Gallery Donation "Give Peace A Chance"
Featuring: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Limited Edition: 158/500
Photo Taken in 1969
* Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from London Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix Archive
Since 1979 The Zoo Gallery’s idea has been to “stand out from the herd.” They support quality contemporary handcraft and the work of American artists.
Reward 10: Loving Arms - By MaryGrace Wolnski
MaryGrace Wolnski is a growing artist in Birmingham, Alabama who is alive in artistic expression. She works with acrylic, oil and mixed media with a focus on creating texture and movement in her work.
She aims to create images that address the presence and care of the spiritual world and in our tangible lives and to elude to the levels of reality underneath the surface of all we see. She delights in the elements of the earth on her skin. The piece in particular address the faithful voice of the earth-our present home-as it holds us and carries us through time.
Reward 11: Raven Wilson - Blossom
Oil on panel (36 x 36)
Reward 12: Personal Photo Shoot with Hello America
Our map lives here. Meet us anywhere along our tour and you will have a personal photo shoot with all of hello america. Camping, west coast, desert or the North East to the mountains of the Carolina's, we will take you and up to three of your friends on a day adventure shooting film and exploring. We will provide your film and camera.
Risks and challenges
When taking to the open road, there is no measure of time, nor reality beyond what is here and what is now. The road takes you, fulfills your ambitions and thus creates new ambitions you might never had been ambitious enough to dream from the start.
We are cognitive of challenges when on the road - a misread map, extreme weather conditions, car trouble, emotional derangement caused by close quarters, fear, exhaustion, the elements, the wild.
This trip will not be comfortable. In fact, I foresee some daunting moments ahead, but that is the beauty of our will to create.
Our backers can be assured our pledge to capturing America on film is authentic. Our creative community is deeply strong and we will work together to bring forth the best material and communication with our backers. Our genuine hope is that we create community with you too, whether you're in Australia or our own back yard, we want to know you and say, "thank you" for supporting our new frontier. I hope one day we can support your creative endeavors the same way you have supported us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)