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$34,063
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, March 30 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

HAYMAKERBy HAYMAKER
First created
HAYMAKERBy HAYMAKER
First created
$34,063
pledged of $55,000pledged of $55,000 goal
290
backers
6days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sat, March 30 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

About

Starting in 2002 as just a fan with a disposable camera taking pictures of the artists that inspired him, Mel D. Cole has evolved into one of the most accomplished and celebrated music photographers around while documenting a critical moment in music when Hip Hop took over the world.   

And now, after 17 years of pictures, we are releasing the first book of Mel's work. And it's GREAT.

Historically known as the official photographer of the Legendary Roots Crew, Mel can often be seen on the road with Trey Songz as his personal photographer. He shot Diddy's legendary white party, was a sponsored ambassador for Heineken tasked with shooting and celebrating NYC nightlife, and in 2018 was hired by Google to photograph celebrities and VIPS at Coachella.

The GZA & Bill Murray, 2010 Austin
The GZA & Bill Murray, 2010 Austin
Drake & Sade, 2017 London
Drake & Sade, 2017 London
A Tribe Called Quest, Brooklyn 2010
A Tribe Called Quest, Brooklyn 2010
Kid Cudi, NYC 2008
Kid Cudi, NYC 2008
J. Cole, NYC 2010
J. Cole, NYC 2010
Mac Miller, Brooklyn 2011
Mac Miller, Brooklyn 2011
Mos Def, NYC 2010
Mos Def, NYC 2010
Questlove & Black Thought, London 2011
Questlove & Black Thought, London 2011

Foreword by Ahmir "Questlove Thompson"

As Questlove mentions in the foreword to the book, it was Mel’s passion for the music that earned him a level of trust and intimacy ultimately allowing him to go beyond concert pictures into meaningfully capturing the vulnerability and the most intimate moments in the lives of the artists he documents: A young Kendrick Lamar at SXSW, an elated and exhausted smile from Kanye backstage, Trey Songz on the phone with his mother, The Roots, road weary and always working, Diddy’s legendary White Party-- GREAT is the first and only comprehensive look at not only Mel’s body of work but of a moment in music history itself when hip hop took over the music world.

Questlove, New York 2008
Questlove, New York 2008

"I've heard music compared to many things. Some say it's a game. Some say it's hell. I say it's a war. Photographers are correspondents in this war documenting every battle. Every step of the way.  The invading Beatles had Harry Benson. Jenny's Lens was the West Coast Punk scene's eye. Run DMC & The Beastie Boys had Ricky Powell and the Roots had Mel D. Cole— or should I say Mel D. Cole had us?" 

– Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, from the foreword.

THE BOOK

 GREAT will be published as a beautiful hardcover book available to everyone for $75. It will also be released as a Limited Edition built for collector's in a custom clamshell case with a handful of other bells and whistles. 

It's BIG (12" x 15") and It's BEAUTIFUL.

 GREAT is nearly two decades of photographs documenting a time where Hip Hop took over pop culture at-large. 

Common and Erykah Badu, NYC 2002
Common and Erykah Badu, NYC 2002
Beyonce, Coachella 2018
Beyonce, Coachella 2018
Kendrick Lamar, Austin 2013
Kendrick Lamar, Austin 2013
Questlove and D'Angelo, NYC 2016
Questlove and D'Angelo, NYC 2016
 Santigold & Rihanna, Coachella 2012 / Amber Rose & Wiz Khalifa, Austin 2012
Santigold & Rihanna, Coachella 2012 / Amber Rose & Wiz Khalifa, Austin 2012

GREAT will be published as a beautiful hardcover book available to everyone for $75.00. 

 GREAT will also be produced in a collector's edition of 2000 copies worldwide in some very custom packaging. 

The Collector's Editions are split into the SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER EDITION and the PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER EDITION. 

THE SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER EDITION: #'s 501-2000 of 2000

The Self-Taught Photographer Edition of GREAT comes in a custom clamshell case containing a functional custom 35mm disposable camera (much like the one Mel started on), a booklet of 20 GREAT Postcards and a GREAT backstage pass signed and numbered by Mel.

20 GREAT POSTCARDS

A custom booklet of 20 postcards featuring some of Mel D's most iconic shots.... And yes, you can put a stamp on them and mail them to a friend.

THE BACKSTAGE PASS

Instead of a simple signature page, we did a signature backstage pass-- They are all signed and numbered by Mel.

THE PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER EDITION: #'s 1-500 of 2000

#s 1-500 of the GREAT belong to the PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER EDITION-  it will come with everything that the SELF-TAUGHT Edition does but will also include an archival quality, signed 12” x 16” digital print (Questlove, NY 2008.) that is ready for you to frame as you like. The print will will ship in a custom vellum envelope inside the clamshell case.

 But Why a Book?

We’ve spent the last few years together with Mel digging through 30,000+ images to create and curate what we believe is the best and most complete look at his work as an artist and documentary photographer.  GREAT gives us the opportunity to release Mel's work as a complete, tangible and experiential object, not unlike a band's decision to drop an album on vinyl in the age of digital streaming. We wanted to create a lasting record of Mel's work that could be experienced beyond tiny screens and would survive beyond the typical life cycles of social media.

Experience and Quality 

We are life-long book, design, music and fashion people and we have collectively worked for more than 20 years with the biggest and most celebrated art and photography publishers out there (we don't drop names).  

Although this is the first book we have done under our own imprint, we have often experienced first hand the joys and pitfalls of traditional publishing and knew we could develop a unique approach. 

We know how to make beautiful and exceptional books and look forward to GREAT being the next great addition to both your shelves and ours. 

Why Kickstarter?

By using a platform like Kickstarter and producing the project independently of outside pressure, we knew we'd be able to create exactly the book we'd always imagined, reach a community of like-minded people who are committed to great design and creative projects, and produce at a lower cost with less risk. 

Full Specifications of Each Edition

The Book

144 pages, spot varnish throughout, printed on 155 gsm uncoated art paper.               

Digitally printed linen cover with foil stamped text.                                                            

Foreword by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of the Roots .                                                             

12" W x 15" H (31 cm x 38 cm)


Limited Edition Packages

Custom clamshell case with magnetic closure. Linen bound with embossed text and images on cover.                                                                                                                                       

Signature Backstage Pass 2.5" x 4" (6 cm x 10 cm)                                                         

Functional Disposable 35mm camera, skinned in custom packaging.                              

Booklet of 20 GREAT postcards, 4" x 6" (10 cm x 15 cm)                                                               

#'s 1-500 include a 12" x 16" (31 cm x 41 cm) digital, archival quality print, "Questlove Backstage, NY 2008" signed by Mel D. Cole                                                                                 

Case Dimensions 21" W X 19" H X 4" D (53 cm x 48 cm x 10 cm)

Risks and challenges

Having worked in design and book production for years we understand and anticipate the things that can go wrong during production-- specifically as it pertains to our limited edition.

We have, however, already produced several prototypes and are already in the process of doing some final tests on materials and techniques to make sure we get 100% of what we are looking for.

This an ambitious project but one that we are very excited to tackle and we look forward to keep our backers up to date during pre-press and production.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    1 x 20 GREAT POSTCARDS

    A collection of 20 of Mel's most iconic pictures presented in a book of postcards.

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    1 x GREAT

    One hardcover copy of GREAT. Shipping included in the USA.

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    1 x GREAT: SELF-TAUGHT Edition

    Every single copy of the 2000 copies we produce of the Limited Edition of GREAT is signed and numbered by Mel D. Cole. It comes in a custom clamshell case with a branded disposable camera, a book containing 20 GREAT postcards, and a signed and numbered GREAT backstage pass.

    The SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER Edition is numbers 501-2000 in the series.

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    1 x GREAT: PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER Edition

    Numbers 1-500 in the Limited Edition are part of the PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER'S Edition.

    They are signed and numbered by Mel D. Cole and presented in the custom clamshell case with branded disposable camera, the book of 20 GREAT postcards, and the GREAT backstage pass.

    Copies of the SELF-TAUGHT Edition of GREAT will also come with a signed and numbered archival quality 12" X 16" digital print, "Questlove Backstage. NYC, NY 2008." The print will be packaged in a custom vellum envelope.

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    Retail Tier: 10 x GREAT

    Ten hardcover copies of GREAT at a substantial discount-- meant for retailers but suitable for bingers. Shipping included in the USA. Please message direct for event /signing inquiries.

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