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Beautiful, funny, solitary creatures. I will travel to the southeastern US to photograph fire hydrants in their natural environments.
Beautiful, funny, solitary creatures. I will travel to the southeastern US to photograph fire hydrants in their natural environments.
27 backers pledged $2,564 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Curbside Guardians, or How I Learned to Really See Fire Hydrants.  project video thumbnail
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$2,564

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Howdy folks! Welcome to my kickstarter project.

For a few years now I've been photographing fire hydrants. I see them as portraits, actually. You can see some of them on my website: www.cautiousoptimism.com

They are these funny, stubby, phallic warriors, yet they speak to our greatest fears. They are the last line of defense against losing all one's worldly possessions. They are conduits to a vast unseen subterranean aquatic network. They are the dashers of hopes of rock-star parking. They are like facebook for dogs.

Despite their being mass produced, each hydrant is unique. Paint, degree of corrosion and rust, background surroundings, and attending random detritus all contribute to each hydrant's individuality. Because of their ubiquity, however, they are the kind of thing that you almost don't see at all... until you start really looking.
At any rate, I find them really beautiful, hilarious and compelling.

I have photos from the west coast, southwestern, northwestern, mid-western, and the north-eastern United States and Hawaii but nothing from the southern/ southeastern part of the country. It's not fair. To them or to you.

With your help, next spring I will travel to Miami then head up through the deep south to search out the best they have to offer, hydrant-wise. Then I will return to San Francisco with enough quality material to complete a series of prints and a photo-book of awesome.

Your contributions will go towards general travel and printing costs.

...And like I said in the video, I would like you to be on the lookout for exceptional fire hydrants for me. If you see one, take a picture and send it to me. Low-res is fine, you can use your phone. Email me at www.cautiousoptimism.com I would love to have a few pages in the book dedicated to the best shots by other people. Maybe I'll even award the best one or two some cool prize.

Please forward this on to anyone you know who might get a little kick out of this project and might want to help. Dog lovers, people who work for the fire department, and parking enforcers come to mind.
More people participating = more hydrant pictures = more happy in the world.

Thanks a bunch,

Josh

Archival prints will be printed at Electric Works in San Francisco www.sfelectricworks.com
I borrowed the haiku idea from Jen Beckman / Hey Hot Shot www.heyhotshot.com
I hope she won't mind.
Special thanx to Tod Brilliant / CJA for the Kickstarter invite

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    AWESOME HELPER
    Exclusive updates on the project and from the road.
    Your name on the "Honor Roll of the Chariots of Fire Hydrants" list in the book. My sincere gratitude.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    SUPER HELPER
    All of the above rewards...PLUS: A fire hydrant postcard from the road. Put it on the fridge!

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    3 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SUPER AWESOME HELPER
    All of the above rewards...PLUS: The electronic preview- I'll email you a package of 20 hydrant jpegs from the collection for your enjoyment. Make a slide show! Drop them in your screen saver folder!

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    2 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    PRINT COLLECTOR
    All of the above rewards...PLUS: a signed 6.5" x 9.5" archival print of the hydrant of your choice printed at Electric Works in San Francisco because they just do great work. They are on nice thick art paper with the cool rough edge. Suitable for framing. Very classy...

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    SUPER PRINT COLLECTOR
    All the rewards for an AWESOME PATRON Plus a series of 3 of the above mentioned prints of your choosing. Like a hydrant haiku that we collaborate on.

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    2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    DISCERNING BIBLIOPHILE
    All the rewards for an AWESOME PATRON Plus a signed copy of the book. Suitable for coffee table or library.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE WHOLE SHEBANG
    You are thorough. You'll get all the stuff. The honor roll, the electronic preview, the gratitude, the postcards, 3 archival prints, a signed copy of the book, AND a sweet hydrant t-shirt made by me.

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    1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    MEGA HYDRANT HAIKU MASTER
    You get THE WHOLE SHEBANG but your 3 archival prints are 13" x 19". Unbelievable!

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  9. Select this reward

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

    TOTALLY RIDICULOUS PHOTOSHOOT
    Okay, get ready... you get THE WHOLE SHEBANG...
    AND I'll come to your house with fire hydrant costumes custom made for you and a friend. I'll take your picture in some hydrant-like locations and send you a framed print of the best one. Totally ridiculous awesome-ness. And you'll be my hero forever.

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Funding period

- (75 days)