Hi! My name is Dan Efram and I'm a photographer and producer from New York City.
The main trailer (above) explains the project. For the deeper story, scroll down past the photos.
The Campaign, The Book, The Postcards, The Gallery Show
Here are some sample pages of the one-off Curiosities book prototype. Please note that images and order will likely change, but this is the approximate shape, size and appearance. I'd like to call my style nouveau noir. Maybe you have a better suggestion? Happy to hear it.
My Background & The Book's Genesis
(For a blurb on the trailer, keep scrolling.)
For most of my life, I have been involved with producing and managing artistic endeavors for predominantly music projects. My main client over the last 18 years (!) has been the indie-rock group The Apples in stereo, but I've worked on the marketing, promotion and development of dozens of music albums, television programs and live music productions.
In 2016, I curated Modular Synthesis, two shows for the painter Steve Keene. One was at the Brooklyn Public Library, the other at Shepard Fairey's Los Angeles gallery, Subliminal Projects.
My world has always involved being around creative minds with both serious and not-so-serious creative visions.
In 2008, my mother became seriously ill and it had a profound effect on my career and lifelong objectives. At the same time my desire to pursue more personal creative endeavors came to light, while I still had energy to do so. During this period, I had increasingly less personal time, and I needed to make it count. If I had 30 minutes to spare, I needed to get away from the pressures of caring for the family. One day, I picked up a camera and got to lose myself in the moment. Photography became my go to for cleansing my brain of the weight of family illness and care - which had become a full time job.
After my parents had both passed and I was done taking care of family legal obligations, I travelled to Europe, the first time I had been able to get away in years. I hoped it would take my mind off of the dark realities that had occupied my world. It turned out to be a life changer.
On that trip, I (duh!?) took a lot of photos and got into an excellent regimen each day of really studying what I was capturing. Everyone knows, when you want to hone your skills at anything, repetition is key. Practice! That Summer, I took literally thousands of photos, each day, going home and analyzing what was taken. Though it was fun, it was also bordering on compulsive.
Upon my return to NYC, I showed some shots to my friend Deb Caponera who curates a wonderful cafe' series in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, who was nice enough to ask me if I was interested in showing my work. Another friend, Andrea, ended up offering me opportunities to show my art in a similar way at the restaurant she worked at in Warwick, NY.
These were inspiring times and I am forever grateful. Without any expectations at all, I sold a bunch of prints and more importantly, realized I was hooked creatively. A year later, I was fortunate to have a show at Howl Happening in the East Village. My friends Ron Ward & The Dream Lovers played improvised music to my abstract films and stills. The show involved making three, 45 min films that showed concurrently. A ton of work, but with an amazing outcome! Specifically inspired by this event, Ron Ward & The Dream Lovers recorded an album with producer / guitarist Jon Spencer. Inspiring stuff!
Here's a short clip from the Howl event.
Looking back, I had never expected anything from photography, but it has given me so much. Most importantly, its my inspiration... we all need inspiration. We all need to dream. In dark times - like the last 2 years - its been very important to find inspiration and aspiration... some words that had been lost to me for a few years. I feel like I've made a creative comeback!
Because I'm ambitious and don't like to make things easy for myself, this project is not simply a photo book, its a campaign that includes the limited edition book, prints & postcards, a gallery premiere show and distributing the book to a large database of gallery and festival curators around the world.
(Psst: Between you and me my penultimate goal is to get the attention of the curators of The Rencontres d'Arles which is perhaps the most prestigious photography festival in the world and with the intent of showing there at some point in the future. Attending the festival in 2015 was a huge inspiration for me.)
Dreams are important. This is mine. There are a variety of pieces and packages available for pre-purchase. If you like my work, I want to make it accessible and fairly priced. I've read that supporting these campaigns early is really important to its ultimate success. So choosing to support it early will offer an even better deal. As an early adopter, (re: "early bird deals"), you are raising your hand at an important time for the this campaign's success.
Kickstarter Goals include:
- Printing of the limited edition, first edition
- Sending copies to backers
- Making archival prints
- Distributing the book to international curators
- Promoting the book with online and print reviews and/or PR
- Extended goals, create a successful gallery and/or pop-up show in the NYC area
It means a lot that people want to help this campaign. The broader the number of supporters (on any level) will help reach the goals.
Though I've helped guide the success of many of these campaigns, its a different feeling when it is my project up to be completed.
Process & Financial Goals
I can't complete the campaign without you! So far, I have spent thousands of dollars on the proper equipment in which to capture my images, on hundreds of test prints for the final book (to insure the quality is top notch), designing the book, creating a prototype (see images) and on the deposit for the book run. I've researched printing presses specializing in art books and decided on Kase Printing based on the recommendation of a book designer that I sought out, who has designed and printed dozens of art books over the last 30 years. Friends, I want very much to present it to the world. That’s why we set up a minimum sum needed to produce this book.
- If we raise $7,500 we will be able to self-publish and distribute this book as described.
- If $11,750 is received, I will be able to make a pop-up gallery show in 2019.
I've done the work, put in the time, done the research and created the work. If you appreciate the work and/or can appreciate the my dream, I would love your support.Thanks for your consideration and support!
The Campaign Trailer
My mission was to produce a trailer that was less a typical crowdfunding piece and more of a trailer about the book in the vein of film noir movie trailers from the 1940's - 60's.
Nicole Blackman, who deserves a lot of credit for her exhaustive help editing the book, was the writer and performed the Nico voiceover for the trailer. Using the Nico voice impersonation was a bit of a joke. But its absurdity (Nico died in 1988, reflects the type of artistic character that we thought would present the contents of the campaign appropriately.
Animations & Music
John Dragonetti produced music for the soundbeds of the animations.
Risks and challenges
As an artist advocate for nearly three decades, the biggest and most crucial challenge I've witnessed is the fear of success and/or failure. Seeing where my art could take me is a huge challenge to my internal insecurities!
My non-monetary goals are very attainable with assistance from you (and this campaign).
Finding a creative passion after a previous long career in a different, but related field makes me feel very fortunate. However, in order to continue, I must extend my goals or simply make it a hobby. Its make or break time! I'm ready.
This campaign seeks assistance with funding via pre-order of the book, prints and/or postcards. I simply can't jump to this next step without you. Its not easy to ask friends for help, but its the only way for this project to be completed and for my dream to have a chance.
The art world may be my toughest challenge yet! However, those who know me know that I am always up for the challenge. I work hard; hone my style; use my skills; and ultimately see how far it takes me.
To this end, I've invested a lot of my own $$$ in equipment and have learned a lot. I've consulted with photo curators and local galleries, book designers, other artists who've created books, art book publishers, bookstores and other professionals and asked some obvious, and not-so-obvious questions. The work, practice and trial and error is done. The plan is here. I'm confident in its potential.
The response to my photography (and the prototype book) was tremendously insightful and positive. If people that I don't know are telling me they like my work this much, my work deserves a chance to see where correctly presenting myself will take me.
And it comes down to a producing and distributing a fantastic book. Over the last six months, Nicole Blackman, who has been absolutely invaluable to the editing of this book and I, have gone back and forth with photo choices. Removing many, adding others, etc...
I am immensely proud of this campaign and believe that this book will bring me many opportunities in the future. The obstacles to success are many, but I'm confident that aiming high is the correct approach. This book is not cheap, a book is an expensive proposition. But the only way I move forward is to present my best, my focused work and see if it registers with anyone.
In every role I've had as an artist advocate, I fought like hell for my clients and projects. As stated above, I'm at a point in my life where I need to take that same attitude and use it for my own creative endeavors. Many, many times I've been able to help overcome huge hurdles to success, the only difference is now, this is my project and I need your help.
Thank you bringing "Curiosities" to life!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)