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€7,614 pledged of €30,000 goal
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By Carina Hesper
€7,614 pledged of €30,000 goal
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About this project

Thank you all for your support and feedback on my book Like a Pearl in my Hand. Unfortunately, after thorough deliberation, we have decided to cancel The Kickstarter campaign due to a lack of international sales of the book.

We still believe we will make this book reality.

For more information and pre-sales see my website: www.carinahesper.nl.

prototype of the book
prototype of the book

In Like a Pearl in my Hand, I reveal a side of China that is mostly hidden from the outside world. Many parents in China give up their new-born child when they find out that it is visually impaired. This is a consequence of the One-Child policy (formally ‘relaxed’ in 2013) and the loss of face associated with having a child with a disability. 

Touched by these children’s fate, I visited different locations of the Bethel orphanage in Beijing, where I photographed children with a visual impairment. The more time I spent with these children, the less I saw their disability. That is why I wanted to photograph them in their unique way. Just as children, not as victims. 

ABOUT THE BOOK 

In Like a Pearl in my Hand form and content are brought together in a unique and interactive way; the blind children, their concealment from society and the touch that is needed to see their portraits. The reader experiences what it is like to be without sight and becomes actively involved in the fate of a group of vulnerable children.  

prototype of the book
prototype of the book

The book adds a tangible dimension to the medium of photography – a medium that is predominantly about seeing and being seen. 

Like a Pearl in my Hand will be presented as a limited and signed edition book. The book will contain 32 portraits, all fully coated in black thermochromatic ink. This ink gets transparent when the temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius. So when you touch the black page with a warm hand, the underlying portrait of the visually impaired child is revealed.

The book will be bound into a monumental work of art by Swiss bindery Burkhardt using the exclusive ‘flat-book’ method. The book lies open flat on each of the 32 spreads and every spread contains a portrait of a child. The inside of the book is free of text to emphasis the main focus: the children. All texts and additional information are presented in a separate inlay, both in Chinese and English. 

The book is contained in a luxurious cassette to complete the body of work. It is advisable to keep the book in this cassette to preserve the ink.

prototype with luxurious cassette
prototype with luxurious cassette

ABOUT THE INK

Since 2011, I have been doing intensive research into this black thermochromatic ink. The research started from a childhood fascination. When I was younger, I had a mug with an image of a mountain. As soon as you poured hot liquid into this mug, the image of the mountain started to change into an erupting volcano. I was so impressed with this effect that 20 years later, I had to figure out how it worked. I found an ink supplier and did several tests with 37, 31, 27, 25 and 23 degrees Celsius.

prints with ink
prints with ink

For this project, I have chosen the ink that gets transparent at 25 degrees Celsius. The reason for this is twofold. Where I live, 18-20 degrees Celsius is the average indoor and museum temperature, in addition, most hands are not much warmer than 25 degrees Celsius. As a result, the pages of this book will turn grey to completely black below 25 degrees Celsius. When the ink reaches a temperature above 25 degrees Celsius, it will become completely transparent and reveal all portraits – like a normal photo book.

It is important to realise that you cannot control the working of the ink. The book behaves as an organism; it is alive. Over the years the ink becomes less and less transparent. Like it is when you turn slowly blind. What is left in the end is a shadow of the portrait.

WHY A BOOK?

I decided to turn the project into a book for several reasons:

1. The portraits together tell the story about these impressive children in China and the Bethel orphanage.

2. From a designers perspective I really love the idea of making a completely black book, with a gradient from transparent to black. 

3. The ink is very sensitive to UV light. The best form to preserve it is in a sealed environment, such as a closed book. 

Separate prints are also available.

installation photo Like a Pearl in my Hand
installation photo Like a Pearl in my Hand

TITLE EXPLANATION

In search for the perfect title for my book, I read Ping Fu’s book Bend, not Break. She explains that if something is very delicate and precious – something you should take good care of and protect from danger, like a youngest daughter – the Chinese call it ‘the pearl in my hand’. 

Furthermore, in nature a pearl is actually a ‘mistake’, but an extremely beautiful and precious mistake. I believe the title of my book fits the subject perfectly. Although some of us might look at these children as mistakes of nature, like pearls are, they are the most precious beings. We should take good care of them and they deserve to have a voice in society.

PRICE

My book is expensive. I realise that if you look at it from a photo book perspective, it costs a lot of money. But my book is an artwork in a book. For an artwork, the price is actually quite affordable.

The reason for the high price is the unique usage of the ink in the book. The cost of the thermochromatic ink is extremely high. To give you an insight: about half of the minimum budget of € 30.000 to produce this book, will be spent on the ink.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

120 x 330 mm | 64 pages| 32 spreads
Flat book with 32 portraits in a special box sleeve
Paper: Lessebo 240 grams

PEOPLE

Concept, Photography and Technical Development: Carina Hesper

Design: Rob van Hoesel, Carina Hesper

Publisher: The Eriksay Connection www.tecbooks.nl

Silkscreen printer: Hofmans Zeefdruk, The Netherlands

Binder: Buchbinderei Burckhardt, Switzerland

Text: Hannes Wallrafen

Text editor: Siri Driessen, Cees van Dam, Marianne Rijke

Translator Eng-Chi: Yongshi Chen

Translator Ned-Eng: Mireille de Koning

Video: Marieke Wijnen

Music: Sunset by Kai Engel (license CC BY 4.0)

Special thanks to: Jan Misker, De Wolven- Leonne van de Ven, Charlotte Kan, May Heek, Cees van Dam & Reinoud Hesper

prototype of the book
prototype of the book

Risks and challenges

During the Kickstarter we will work on producing the final dummy of the book.

The last couple of months we have run numerous tests with our printer and silkscreen company and tackled everything that could go wrong or differently than expected. During this testing period, we also worked closely with an amazing supplier, silkscreen company and binder. Together with all the writers and translators, everyone is very committed to the book.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €10 or more About $11

    THANK YOU PEARL
    We will keep you updated about my book project, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €15 or more About $17

    THANK YOU VIDEO PEARL
    You will receive a digital video of one of the prints from the book Like a Pearl in my Hand. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    PERSONAL PEARL CARD
    You will receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €45 or more About $51

    MINI PEARL PRINT
    You will receive a mini-print (8 cm x 11 cm) of one of the portraits from the book Like a Pearl in my Hand covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €90 or more About $101

    PEARL PRINT
    You will receive a large (24 cm x 33 cm) signed print of one of the portraits from the book Like a Pearl in my Hand covered with black thermochromatic ink in a special box. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €195 or more About $220

    VERY VERY EARLY BIRD: LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €229 or more About $258

    VERY EARLY BIRD: LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €245 or more About $276

    EARLY BIRD: LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €259 or more About $292

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €299 or more About $337

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK + MINI PRINT
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a mini-print (8 cm x 11 cm) of one of the portraits covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €339 or more About $382

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK +
    PEARL PRINT
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and receive a large (24 cm x 33 cm) signed print of one of the portraits covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €379 or more About $427

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK + MINI PRINT + PEARL PRINT
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand, a mini print (8 cm x 11 cm) and a large (24 cm x 33 cm) signed print of one of the portraits covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €499 or more About $562

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK + 3 DIFFERENT PEARL PRINTS
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and receive 3 large (24 cm x 33 cm) signed prints of the portraits covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €649 or more About $732

    LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK +
    5 DIFFERENT PEARL PRINTS
    You will receive a signed and numbered copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and receive 5 different large (24 cm x 33 cm) signed prints of the portraits covered with black thermochromatic ink. You will also receive a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €999 or more About $1,126

    NUMBER 1 OF LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive the signed and number 1 copy of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

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    Pledge €2,450 or more About $2,762

    10 X LIKE A PEARL IN MY HAND BOOK
    You will receive 10 signed and numbered copies of the book Like a Pearl in my Hand and a ‘thank you’-card with a personal note. In addition, we will keep you updated about my book project, publish your name on my website and in the book as a benefactor, add you to my newsletter and invite you to the book launch in The Netherlands.

    Perfect as a unique business gift!

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Funding period

- (59 days)