What Have I Done With My Life?
Last month I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of becoming a full time photographer. From a far it seems like I have had a great career, shooting for some of the biggest publications in the world and making a living in a time where there are a million people with DSLRs and iPhones willing to take photos for free. But as I move into the next decade of my career the pessimist in me focuses on the failures. I wanted to be a great photojournalist, but instead I am known for late 2000s party photos and mediocre nudes.
Over the last few months I have been working on my first portfolio in a decade. I wanted to put something together that shows off what I have accomplished since I moved to NYC in 2006. I went through literally millions of photos and started pulling my "best" images both for the portfolio and just to create a well organized library so I could pull images for future books and gallery shows.
The problem was that as I went through month after month, year after year I couldn't bare to look at my photos anymore. I am sure most artists can relate to not being satisfied with their work, but it was honestly painful to work on this portfolio. I would work on it for an hour at a time before getting fed up trying to squeeze years of work into a few sections of a dozen images or so. I still haven't even finished it. I have spent so much time shooting photos that don't matter, bands I don't like, and enhough nudes just ended up weighing down my commercial career like an anchor. How did I get here?
In the middle of working on the portfolio I decided to take a break. I stopped looking at my digital commercial work and decided I would spend some time with my more personal 35mm work.
I pulled every single photo of mine that I didn't hate and put it into a folder. After that I went through and removed all the photos that had been published in one of my previous books and zines. When I was through I only had 61 photos, but at least they were images I liked looking at. I actually had a sense of joy from looking at them.
When I started pulling these images I wasn't thinking about any particular project, I just needed a break. But with my 10 year anniversary and Kickstarter's Make 100 event happening just weeks apart, it seemed like the perfect excuse to make a limited edition book and try and break out of this funk.
When I started Driven By Boredom the idea was to use my hatred of being bored as a motivating factor to create stuff. I figure if I could be driven by boredom I can be driven by self loathing as well.
Every January since 2017 Kickstarter has promoted "make/100" a project where they encourage Kickstarter creators to make a very limited edition run of only 100 copies of something. I really loved this idea and it's a great prompt to get people making. I really wanted to do it the last two Januarys but other projects got in the way, but this year I had the perfect project.
My last Kickstarter project was such a massive undertaking and doing just 100 copies really feels freeing. I don't have to spend as much time thinking about because there's only 100 of them. I can do something fun. There's no real rhyme or reason for the images. They are just 35mm photos that I don't hate. It's as simple as that.
I don't know how many photos are actually going to be in the book yet, but it will be less than 61 I know that. I cut that edit down substantially already and I am not done yet, but I also hope to take some new photos for it as well.
The book is going to be soft cover, perfect bound and 8"x8". I really wanted to play with the square format and both vertical and horizontal images will work with it. Each copy will be signed and numbered.
The book will be a mixture of black and white and color images with mostly people but not only people. It will have some nudity but not a tremendous amount. The one thing that does seem to be consistent is that most of the work seems a lot more still than my usual photography. I don't really know what that's about...
On top of the 100 copies, there is a special edition limited to just 25 signed and numbered copies. The special edition is going to include several more images and will have a variant cover. It will come in an envelope with a square 7" print, but there are 5 prints, so each print will have an edition of only 5. The prints are below.
The final image, Bianca, is only available with the $250 reward that comes with the Special Edition, plus a 16"x20" signed print of any photo from the book.
This is a simple project that exists to make something fun and stress free. I don't plan on raising a ton of money and I don't plan on doing any proper stretch goals like I have done with past campaigns. However, if the 100 copies sell out quickly I might consider doing a smaller zine edition that has less photos and larger print run. It just really depends on the demand.
Oh, and don't worry, I will be back on Kickstarter soon. I am still hard at work on my juggalo book...
Risks and challenges
I have done a bunch of Kickstarters and a bunch of books and zines and I have learned a lot over the years doing these projects. My main concern is purely a timeline one because I am dependant on others for the design aspect of the project, but my guess is that by the time this project is over I will be almost ready to go.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (23 days)