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A documentary photobook that captures the late 70s in evangelical America seen thru the eyes of a closeted and religious young man.
A documentary photobook that captures the late 70s in evangelical America seen thru the eyes of a closeted and religious young man.
145 backers pledged $9,302 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Sam, Hitchhiking to Tulum, Mexico 1978
Sam, Hitchhiking to Tulum, Mexico 1978

A while back, I found dusty boxes of kodachromes stored in my parent's house. I had not looked at the pictures in over 25 years, mainly because it was from a time I wanted to forget: my Jesus Days.

During my twenties, I was a youth minister for an evangelical Christian organization that had member chapters at secular colleges and universities across the U.S. It was my job to encourage young Christians in their faith.  I listened to their problems, led Bible studies and prayer meetings, engaged in missions overseas and even took Jesus to the sunny beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during Spring Break.

Cop and Bikini Girls, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 1979
Cop and Bikini Girls, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 1979

As a boy, I had grown up in a Southern Baptist family in Kentucky and this born-again Christian world was as normal to me as bacon and eggs for breakfast.

A missionary gave me a 35 mm camera in 1978 and I started taking pictures. They were not meant to be seen by anyone other than my friends and family. I photographed out of curiousity and the desire to capture a moment.  Without my knowing it at the time, I realize now that these pictures were my first artistic body of work. Looking at the images today, I see all my longing and wishes expressed, things I could not say in words.

Christian Staff Members take a Beach Break, Ft. Lauderdale, FL  1979
Christian Staff Members take a Beach Break, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 1979

I appeared the model Christian, an evangelical poster boy. I prayed and read my Bible, went to church and refrained from sex.  But all through these days, I had a secret that I could not admit to others nor to myself. I loved but was not in love with the girl whom I thought I should marry and was in love with my best friend with whom I never would have a relationship. I feared that if my secret was exposed, I would lose my family, friends and position. It would be the end of myself as I knew myself.

Church Couple, Ft. Wayne, Indiana 1978
Church Couple, Ft. Wayne, Indiana 1978
Red Tulips, Indiana 1978 (8.5 x 11") (22 x 28 cm) and (24 x 30") (61 x 76 cm)
Red Tulips, Indiana 1978 (8.5 x 11") (22 x 28 cm) and (24 x 30") (61 x 76 cm)

In the Spring of 1983, I broke up with my girlfriend, resigned from the organization and came out as a gay man.  That summer I moved to New York City where I entered the Film School of Columbia University.  I became a photographer.

Missionaries go to Church, Guatemala City, Guatemala 1978
Missionaries go to Church, Guatemala City, Guatemala 1978
I'm the Coach, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 1979
I'm the Coach, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 1979

Today, I am collaborating with the Canadian publisher, Bywater Brothers, to bring the pictures all together in a photobook. It will be around 7" x 9" (18 x 23 cm), 80 pages with 55-60 pictures, produced in a softbound edition of 750. Bywater Brothers is experienced in the production of fine art books and has the distribution channels to bring Jesus Days to an international audience.  The Publisher works with artists such as Jack Pierson.

Volleyball Hangs in Balance, Lake Michigan, Michigan 1978
Volleyball Hangs in Balance, Lake Michigan, Michigan 1978

Roger Bywater from Bywater Brothers writes:

"We love this project because it documents an unusual story in a way never seen before. We also like to work with emerging artists to realize projects which otherwise may not come to fruition. 'Jesus Days' is one such project which we fully stand behind."

Camping, Georgia 1978
Camping, Georgia 1978
Roofer at Christian Summer Camp, Michigan 1978 (24 x 30") (61 x 76 cm)
Roofer at Christian Summer Camp, Michigan 1978 (24 x 30") (61 x 76 cm)

Jesus Days documents American youth as seen through the eyes of a closeted gay staff member of a large, conservative religious movement.  The photographs capture evangelical Christian student life from the end of the 70s to the early 80s and open a window onto a time now passed.

The projected cost of $9000 will cover the design and offset printing of the photobook. The budget is low because of the choice to go with a softcover edition and because most of the post-production work has already been completed.  The budget also allows for the production of rewards and for travel to meet with the publisher in Toronto.

Remember that in accordance with Kickstarter rules, the entire budget must be raised by the deadline in order for pledged funds to be released. This policy protects the contributor and insures that supporters will see a return on their pledge. It is all or nothing

Please visit my website to see more of Jesus Days and more of my photography: greg-reynolds.com.

Everyone who participates in making this project a success will have their names warmly acknowledged on a special page within the book. Please share this photobook project with your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you for your support! I appreciate it.

Greg

Risks and challenges

Delays are always possible, but I am assured by the proven track record of Bywater Brothers that this photobook will arrive on time.

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FAQ

  • Yes. I will write an essay about my 'Jesus Days' and address questions that I receive today about it. I am often asked do I still consider myself a Christian and/or am I still religious?

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Your name will appear on a special page in the book as a grateful acknowledgement of your support. Thank You!

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    A poster sized offset printed poster of 'Cop and Bikini Girls, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 1979'. 25 x 36". Originally produced as a zine. Will be shipped rolled in a tube. For mailing outside the US and Canada, please add an additional $5.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    The book! A signed, softcover copy of Jesus Days in a limited first edition of 750. Plus your name on a special page as an acknowledgement of your support. Shipping included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    A signed, soft cover copy of the book, 'Jesus Days, 1978-1983', plus your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page, PLUS the poster of 'Cop and Bikini Girls'. Reward #2. Please add an additional $5 for shipping outside the US and Canada.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    TWO (2) signed, softcover copies of 'Jesus Days' in a limited first edition of 750. Plus your name on a special page as an acknowledgement of your support. Shipping included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A 5.5 x 7.5" (14 x 19 cm) archival exhibition fiber print. Signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100. ONLY for Kickstarter supporters. Select which one you like from the pictures in the side panel. Plus a signed copy of Jesus Days and your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page in the book. Shipping and handling is included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Choice of three 5.5 x 7.5" (14 x 19 cm) archival exhibition fiber prints. Choose from pictures in the side panel. Each signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100. ONLY for Kickstarter supporters. Plus a signed copy of Jesus Days and your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page in the book. Shipping and handling is included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    An 8.5 x 11" (22 x 28 cm) archival exhibition fiber print of Red Tulips, Indiana. Signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100. Plus a signed copy of Jesus Days and your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page in the book. Shipping and handling is included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Your choice of any image from the photobook. An archival exhibition fiber print, 8.5 x 11" (22 x 28 cm). A PDF of all images will be sent to you for your selection. Each in a signed and numbered limited edition of 100. Plus you will receive a signed photobook and your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page. Mailing and packaging included.

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    Pledge $375 or more About $375

    Head Shots for actors/artists/performers and entrepreneurs. You will receive two high resolution files suited for a 8 x 10" print and two low res files suited for web use. Only for New York City.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A guest artist talk and slideshow in your community. Plus a signed copy of the book for the host and your name gratefully acknowleged on a special page. Travel expenses outside New York City or Lexington/Louisville, Kentucky are additional. Thank You!

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    A portrait sitting with the artist. You will receive four (8.5 x 11") (22 x 28 cm) prints. Plus a signed copy of 'Jesus Days' and your name gratefully acknowledged on a special page in the book. Shipping and handling included. Travel expenses outside of New York City or Lexington/Louisville, Kentucky would be additional. Thank You!

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    A limited edtion (15), archival exhibition print, Volleyball hangs in Balance, Lake Michigan sized 17 x 22" (43 x 56 cm). Signed and Numbered. Plus a signed copy of the book and your name gratefully listed on a special page for Supporters. Shipping and handling is included. Thank You!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    A signed and numbered, limited edition (9), archival exhibition fiber print of Red Tulips, Indiana. Sized 24 x 30" (61 x 76 mm). Plus a signed copy of the book and your name gratefully acknowledged on s special page listing supporters. Includes shipping and handling. Thank You!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    A signed and numbered, limited edition (9), archival exhibition fiber print of Roofer at Christian Summer Camp, Michigan. Sized 24 x 30" (61 x 76 mm). Plus a signed copy of the book and your name gratefully acknowledged on s special page listing supporters. Includes shipping and handling. Thank You!

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Funding period

- (28 days)