Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 7, 2011.

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I'm creating a photographic archive of a small American town that is about to disappear. Please support me in this important project!

The town of Treece, located in the southeast corner of Kansas, has a population around 140. At it’s peak (primarily during the two world wars), Treece and its nearest neighbor, Picher, OK, had a population of 20,000 and produced $20 billion worth of ore. Much of the lead and zinc that came from the area was used for weaponry in both world wars. Its mines closed in the 1970s, leaving a small community of the children and grandchildren of miners.

Today, the poverty level in Treece is more than twice the national average, and according to a recent test by the EPA, its residents have 60% more lead in their bloodstream than the average Kansan. Old mining practices have left the ground unstable and full of sinkholes. Mountains of “chat,” the toxic remnants of the mining, surround the town. The entire area surrounding Treece is part of an EPA Superfund site. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/related.htm

The majority of the community is preparing to leave. In October 2009, President Obama signed a bill authorizing a $3.5 million buyout of the contaminated town, and relocation plans are progressing. Picher, OK, has already been bought out, leaving a ghost town behind.

I’m concerned about what will happen to Treece’s history when all the people are gone. Though communities often change, it’s rare to see one unravel entirely. With your support, I’d like to continue to create a photographic archive of this small town before it disappears.

The relocation is happening very quickly! According to the town’s mayor, each home is currently in the process of being appraised. Offers will be made by late November or early December, and it sounds like it will be early Spring when they all start to leave.

I'd like to visit Treece three or four more times this year to continue photographing. I'm fundraising now for my next trip in January. With the help of Kickstarter and you, I’m hoping to cover the costs of film, developing, and printing, on top of my travel costs.

Thank you!

Thank you to the extremely talented Shawn Davis for allowing me to use his music in the video.

Thank you to the Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum for sharing some of their historic mining photographs from the area.

http://www.baxterspringsmuseum.org/

I also owe a big thank you to Matt Myers, Jump the Fence Productions, and everyone who worked on the documentary film Tar Creek. Matt has generously donated 10 copies of his film for 10 donors at the $40 level.

About Matt's film:

TAR CREEK is the story of the worst environmental disaster you’ve never heard of: the Tar Creek Superfund site. Once one of the largest lead and zinc mines on the planet, Tar Creek is now home to more than 40 square miles of environmental devastation in northeastern Oklahoma: acid mine water in the creeks, stratospheric lead poisoning in the children, and sinkholes that melt backyards and ball fields. Now, almost 30 years after being designated for federal cleanup by the Superfund program, Tar Creek residents are still fighting for decontamination, environmental justice, and ultimately, the buyout and relocation of their homes to safer ground. As TAR CREEK reveals, America’s Superfund sites aren’t just environmental wastelands; they’re community tragedies, too. Until the community fights back.

http://tarcreekfilm.com/

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    7 backers

    Thank you, thank you!! You'll be listed on my website as a donor!

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    20 backers

    I’ll send you a personal thank you postcard with one of my images from the series + a thank you on my website!

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    25 backers

    I’ll send you a thank you postcard, and a copy of a historical mining photograph from the tri-state mining area (courtesy of the Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum) + a thank you on my website!

  • Pledge $40 or more
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    10 backers All gone!

    A copy of Matt Myers’ fantastic and important documentary film, “Tar Creek,” + a copy of a historical mining photograph + a postcard + a thank you on my website!

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    15 backers

    A handmade mini booklet with 9 images from the series, made exclusively for my Kickstarter donors! It’s made on archival inkjet paper, and will give you a special look into the project + a copy of a historical mining photograph + a postcard + a thank you on my website!

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    11 backers

    An 8x10” signed print from the series + the handmade booklet + a copy of a historical mining photograph + a thank you on my website!

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    2 backers

    An 11x14” signed print from the series + the booklet + a copy of a historical mining photograph + a thank you on my website!

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    Are you in the NYC area? Let's have lunch at one of my favorite Brooklyn haunts. I’ll also bring you your 11x14 print from Treece and the handmade booklet!

  • Pledge $550 or more
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    If you are a photographer or artist, this is for you! I’ll meet you in person to do a portfolio review of your work! Not only am I a photographer, but I teach photography at ICP, SVA, and two other universities. I’d love to sit with you and give you feedback about your work. I’ll also bring you your 11x14 print from Treece and the handmade booklet!

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    1 backer

    I’ll take you to dinner! I’ll bring you to one of my favorite restaurants in NYC, and tell you all about my experiences photographing in Treece and the the tri-state mining district. Also, at dinner I will bring you all the other awesome gifts for smaller donations, including your 11x14 print and the handmade booklet!

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    Your own personal photo shoot! If you live in or around New York City, I will come to your home and photograph you and your family. Plus all the other awesome gifts for smaller donations including your 11x14 print, and the handmade booklet!

Funding period

- (45 days)