Desert in the City - Hardcover Book
A photo project where deserted cities are shot in one single night. Empty New York, Rome, Paris and London in one Hardcover book
Desert in the City - Hardcover Book
Desert in the City is a photography project where a deserted city is shot during a holiday season. The project has now 4 cities after Desert in Paris (Christmas 2014), London (Christmas 2015), New York (Thanksgiving 2016) and Rome (Christmas 2016). This kickstarter aims at financing the Hardcover photobook with every single picture of the project - 100+ pages with more than 120 pictures of deserted cities, and an exhibition in Paris in november.
More than two years ago I was looking for a way to create a series of pictures that would make a beautiful "portrait of a city".
I thought of photos of New York I had done just before Irene hurricane back in 2011. Streets were totally empty during the curfew and I had the chance to wander in an empty Manhattan.
So I asked myself : how could I shoot an empty Paris ? With no people, no cars, no tourists, and still magnify the city of love. It turns out there is a moment in the year when streets are totally empty, when people are home or away, when nobody is partying all night long : that magical moment is Christmas.
After an amazing run on Kickstarter last year where the project became 'Most Popular' in the photo category with Desert in Paris and Desert in London, I had my eyes on the city that may be the most challenging : New York, the city that never sleeps.
I thought there may well be a holiday where people fly off from New York or stay at home with families : Thanksgiving.
Desert in New York
Skyscrapers everywhere, iconic locations by hundreds and a huge city where just walking to see it all would seem dumb, I had challenges both technical and physical. Luckily I have been to New York quite a few times in the past so I already knew most of the locations.
Still I needed a full week of scouting to identify the zones where I could get several shots by walking, and to spot where I could compose photos with such a massive city.
So I walked 12+ miles between 23rd and 24th of November in two main areas where iconic locations are concentrated :
- a Mid-Town triangle composed of Times Square, Central Park and the Flatiron
- The Financial District with close access to Brooklyn bridge. The High Line was on the way for a quick stop.
Desert in New York is now composed of 40+ pictures, some of them are the most impressive I have ever shot for Desert in the City. Most of the pictures are long exposure photography and nobody was erased from them.
The day I was about to leave Paris for New York, Matthieu Blanco a friend who happens to be a film-maker called me for other businesses. He had just moved for a few months in Montreal and decided right away to meet me for one of those nights and follow the whole process. A bold move that allows to show how everything is done. It’s also great to have a different memory of those crazy nights.
Music - Little Things by Employee of the year (get it on Apple Music)
Desert in Rome
I had in mind to produce a Hardcover Book for the whole project and I needed more pictures to complete it, and I still had a Christmas holiday ahead of me. So when a photo trip to Tuscany was confirmed for me just after Christmas, I decided right away to shoot Desert in Rome.
Again I spent Christmas walking in Rome after 5 days of scouting. This 4th installment of the project was again very challenging, it seems that people from Rome celebrate Christmas all night long at Trevi fountain :) I waited 2hrs there to get the picture I wanted.
Desert in Rome is composed of 25+ pictures that will all be in the Hardcover book.
This Kickstarter campaign aims at producing & publishing a Hardcover Book with 120+ pictures from Desert in the City. Every single picture from the project will be in it, including Desert in Paris and Desert in London alongside New York and Rome.
When I proposed Desert in Paris to magazines in France two years ago I had no answer, not even rejections. But when I saw people reacting to the pictures and blogs sharing them I hoped that crowdfunding could be the best way to continue the project in new cities.
This is the biggest challenge since a hardcover book needs an edition of at least 500 copies in order to have great prints at controlled costs. Except the videos, everything is self published so I intend to have the best quality possible for the prints, paper and materials.
One week after the previous campaign was on, Desert in the City became the most popular project in Photography category on Kickstarter thanks to the people sharing the articles. Media coverage included :
- TV Segments : ITV4 in England - France 3, BFM and Le Parisien TV in France.
- Press : Evening Standard, Daily Express, Lonely Planet, Time Out, L’Express, Grazia, 20 Minutes, Fubiz
- And dozens of online media & blogs
Pictures from Desert in New York & Desert in Rome are available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org
Publishing a hardcover book would be a wonderful accomplishment, but it won't happen until I have funds to print 500 of them. With first estimates of production costs for a hardcover book, shipping and video editing, overall budget is 20 000€. With 8% going to Kickstarter and the exhibition costs north of 5 000 €, the goal is 30k. This is big.
If the first goal is reached I intend to stretch it to a second edition of 500 copies.
What's Next ?
I have been teaching photography for the past two years in university, workshops and photography trips with Photographes du Monde.
Sharing my passion for photography is an important part for me, and maybe some people would like to learn and experiment the techniques involved in Desert in the City project.
So I propose to participants of this Kickstarter to conduct a 'Night photography & long exposure' workshop with 4 hours of theory & practice in one night & 2 hours post-production the next day :
- in Paris : June 2017
- in New York : September 2017
Desert in the City exhibition is planned for november 2017 at Hegoa Gallery in Paris.
It will mainly feature new cities from the project : New York & Rome.
Whatever the results, I intend to shoot next cities in 2018 : Hong Kong & Tokyo.
Risks and challenges
The main challenge is to reach an overall budget that can cover 500 copies.
All the rest is on my side in order to produce and publish the Hardcover Book and Ebook.
You can help on all of this by sharing this project :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)