An innovative single-frame, single-exposure ballet photo book featuring some of the world's top ballet dancers (not Photoshopped).
Welcome to the Esprit de Corps Kickstarter campaign! I'm Jesús, a photographer and former contemporary ballet dancer from Brooklyn behind the project. All the wonderful people working on this project and I are psyched you're here. Let me tell you about what we're producing; I hope you'll love it as much as we do.
Esprit de Corps is an art book project that captures the beauty and virtuosity (read: superhuman-ness) of some of the world's best ballet dancers through the unique, exciting and just plain cool photographic lighting technique you see here.
Our quickly expanding list of dancers includes:
Michaela DePrince, Jared Matthews, Yuriko Kajiya, James Whiteside, Sterling Baca, Elina Miettinen, Sean Stewart, Cassandra Trenary, Patrick Yocum
+ many more. Stay tuned for dancer announcement throughout the campaign. You won't be disappointed! Plus weigh-in in the comments about who you'd like to see!
You're probably looking at it and wondering how it's done. Or maybe thinking: "that's a cool Photoshop effect." But! The technique is totally old school photography executed in a new way. There is no special camera or film. We use regular photography lights. And there's very minimal Photoshop--only a bit here and there to clean up or add contrast to the amazing "in-camera" effect. You can see the difference between what comes out of the camera and the finished product here:
Amazing the combination that photography and dance can produce, right? Well, after discovering how beautifully and uniquely this lighting technique can capture ballet, it dawned on me that it would be a great subject for a one-of-a-kind art book.
So, cool work. Why Kickstarter?
We want to produce a lot more of it, a 240 page, full-color, hard-bound, 11x13 book to be exact--along with beautiful art for your walls and other goodies. I mean, wouldn't you love to see this stuff on your coffee table, or (and!) above your couch, work desk or mantel? (Me too.) And my collaborators and I need you to make that happen.
Initially, having several friends in publishing, I thought, "These photos are so cool and I think I know the right people; I can get a book deal with an advance to produce it, no problem." Well, it turns out getting a book deal: not that easy. Publishers are less-and-less interested in art books because they don't really have the potential to sell as well as Harry Potter or a presidential biography. Most won't even bite unless there's something nearly identical that has done exceptionally well very recently, or unless you're already VERY big time, and usually both. And those who might be interested, want finished artwork. They think fronting a budget for this project isn't worthwhile. They're simply convinced there aren't art patrons like you worth pursuing. We think they're wrong.
More than anything, though, I've been a big fan of Kickstarter ever since I backed my first project in 2009 (under a different email account). And I've marveled at how creative people have used Kickstarter to produce projects like this one, projects that might not have had much of a chance without a large group of backers saying, "Yes, this is something we want" and who are willing to be patrons before it's done, so it can actually get done. So, I turn to you Kickstarter, knowing that there is an audience here for amazing art books, that patrons of the arts still exist in the form of crowdfunding backers. Let's make it happen.
Esprit de Corps needs $115,000 of arts patronage to become a reality - that's ~1,500 books
One of the hurdles of creating photography (and book publishing) of this scale and production value is that it needs a big budget because photography like this includes a lot of people and has a lot of expensive moving (or not moving) parts.
To give one example of the expenses we face: to create the best photographs possible, we need a very big space with some specific requirements, including a sprung wood floor (so our world-renowned dancers don't injure themselves), black marley flooring, and dimensions of at least 40 by 40 feet with a high ceiling. Oh, and, all in New York! The cheapest places that fit that criteria are still at least $1,800/day! Quick addition: 10 shoot days = $18,000!
That doesn't even include hiring the 20 world-class dancers, production staff, designers, wardrobe, extra equipment rental, on-site food, insurance, book production and rewards expenses, fulfillment, shipping, Kickstarter+Amazon fees, bounced pledges/credit cards (it happens, ~5%), etc. etc. etc.! But we've crunched the numbers over-and-over, sharpened our pencils, and that's what it'll take. (For those of you in less expensive places; I know. The expense of New York blew my mind too when I first moved here from The Midwest.)
So, get your piece of it. And make sure to spread the word about the project; help us make this a reality!
The Book, Prints and Beyond
One of the great things about Kickstarter is that we get funded as you order the amazing goodies we're producing, including the Esprit de Corps Book! Without further ado, the rewards, all arriving in time for the Holidays!
Amazing Computer Wallpapers! - $13
Get a 6-month subscription to monthly, stunning, exclusive-to-Kickstarter digital wallpapers formatted for your devices coming August, September, October, November, December and January. These montages will not be available anywhere else digitally or in-print.
Swag! All Designed Exclusively for Kickstarter.
All stunning initial swag designs exclusive to Kickstarter--get them now or these'll be gone! All swag levels also include the Relevé 6-month subscription to digital wallpaper for your devices. Swag levels include:
Temporary Tattoos (Tendu, $20)
Postcards (Coupé, $25)
Greeting Cards (Arabesque, $30)
Posters (Développé, $50)
Drawstring Backpack (Epaulement, $60)
The Esprit de Corps Book! (Esprit de Corps, $80; Esprit de Corps X2 -- order two (2) at a time for $150)
240 hard-bound pages showcasing the extraordinary breadth of the ballet lexicon as well as the super-human talent and ability of some of the world's best dancers.
Esprit de Corps Book and a Unique-to-YOU behind-the-scenes print. (Brisé Volé, $115)
Swag Pack (Port de Bras, $185)
Big, Beautiful, Magical Prints! (Jeté, 11x14, $550; Grand Jeté, 16x24, $1,600; and Tour Jeté, 30x40, $3,000)
Plus! Upgraded Print Packages!
A one-on-one lunch with the photographer + a Jeté Print + signed Esprit de Corps book (Adagio, $1,100)
A visit to one of the photo shoots, dinner with you+guest, the photographer and two of the dancers in one of New York's hottest and most coveted "secret" restaurants, a Tour Jeté print and a signed Esprit de Corps book (Grand Allegro, $7,000)
Get in on an intensive 2-day lighting and post-production workshop with Jesús Chapa-Malacara. These studio photography workshops will cover a comprehensive range of lighting setups and post-production techniques for photographing athletes and motion. Emphasis will be on rigorous "in-camera" principals as well as flawless, invisible post-production work. Let's get you on your way to producing exciting, technically rigorous and professional work. More details in the Reward section to the right.
We're super excited you've gotten this far. Now all that's left is to become our backer, choose your rewards and join us in this journey of funding and making some great art, all while forging the future of art finance, production and distribution. We can't wait to share this with you. All our best.
Jesús + Dancers + Collaborators
All Esprit de Corps photography ©Jesús Chapa-Malacara / fotosjcm.com. All Rights Reserved. Distribution, reproduction and/or modification expressly prohibited without explicit permission.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The biggest challenge by far will be scheduling with all these world-class dancers. As you can imagine, they are very busy, very in-demand people traversing the globe at any given moment. We've worked out a work schedule with the shoot space that will allow a good bit of flexibility, and we're working with every dancer already recruited, and who will be recruited, to figure out how to combine availabilities.
One of the things that will also hugely help with scheduling is exceeding our budget because in addition to the flexibility we've worked out, it will allow us to have more actual time in the studio. To that end, we ask our backers to help in really promoting the Esprit de Corps Kickstarter campaign. With your help, the project can only get more and more smooth and fabulous! Thanks so much!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.