WATCH ABOVE THIS VIDEO CLIP SHOT AND DIRECTED BY CARMEN CHEUNG
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
For the past twelve years, I’ve made countless expeditions into the deserts of the American West to photograph and artistically address the poetic relationship between the human body and the awe-inspiring landscape. My first book Bodyscapes (2007) contained vibrant creative artwork with painted bodies moving through some of the most diverse landscapes on earth.
This Kickstarter will allow me to round off the necessary funding to complete, print and publish a second book of photography. Leap into the Blue dives deeper into our beingness, creating "fantastic" interventions within the landscape that challenge viewers to question the lines we draw between mind and body; human and nature; figure and landscape; dream and reality.
Through a unique fusion of mediums (such as photography, painting and performance ), all 240 photographs point to our inner freedom, to the humor hidden behind our life predicaments, to our capacity to embrace the unknown, or the unity between our Mind and Body and between ourselves and the environment.
I’m hoping that through the unexpected wealth of surreal situations photographed, one may be brought to experience a different sense of living poetically or find new liberating perspectives in regards to how we can relate to our surroundings, appreciate beauty and light, or wonder about our own being or what we aspire to.
THE THREE MOVEMENTS OF THE BOOK
ARISING GEOMETRY The first series of photos explores our Mind’s need to organize our surroundings into recognizable visual patterns and geometries.
PAS DE DEUX
The second series displays the Body and its innate impulse to engage with another human in an infinite dance, pas de deux, or literally, “step for two.”
LEAP INTO THE BLUE
The third series touches upon our inner aspirations that are here invoked through the flying body.
I have already invested over $300,000 in this project since early 2000 and borrowed $20,000 towards the $30,000 necessary for the publisher to cover the printing costs. We are hoping to raise the remaining $10,000 through Kickstarter.
This final sum will insure the printing and distribution costs of the book, which includes 240 full color photographs, several pages of drawings that show the creative process of the project, as well as a behind-the-scenes DVD by Carmen Cheung. This DVD, with desert footage by filmmaker Trinh Minh-Ha, will give you a chance to listen to some of my views on this work and how it relates to one’s life path, while giving you some insight into the production process.
In a time when digital manipulation and effects reign in the visual environments that surround us, analog photography is not often the go-to format to creating what I call “staged photography.”
All my photographs of flying bodies, cliff paintings and landscapes have been shot on analog film without the use of any digital technology.
A grand reward of funding this project is the invitation to be a participant in one of our future expeditions, to co-create the unimaginable and to witness firsthand our whole process.
Starting at an early age in my native country of France, I have always held a passion for the earth, painting, drawing, dance, light, architecture and photography. My interests in architecture, landscape, archeology, and antique murals have greatly influenced my artistic endeavors.
My latest book, Vernacular Architecture of West Africa (in which I assembled my photographs and drawings of a disappearing way of building), came out in 2011 and my latest photography book Bodyscapes was published in 2007.
Since 2000, my photography has focused exclusively on the body and the land and I would love to include as many readers as possible in this ongoing exploration.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS
Another purpose for seeing to completion the publication of Leap Into The Blue is also to give homage to the fifty friends who volunteered to be part of this project over these many years and contributed with their energy and creative talents.
Needless to say, each of the photographs you see is the outcome of many thrills and ecstasies, but also many trials and unseen sacrifices. All the little or big difficulties encountered during our trips have been outweighed by the unspeakable joys of experiencing the desert’s bare-bone beauty, and being in touch with the Body and Earth in an intimate and colorful way.
As much as myself, they would also love to inspire others with their artistic contributions, allowing us to see this Earth and our beings through a different lens.
WHY YOU WILL ENJOY THIS BOOK
If you enjoy adventures, you’ll appreciate the unbelievable landscapes that we found in several deserts of the Western United States.
If you enjoy dance, you’ll notice our playfulness with the geometry of the body as well as the section that features the Body as literally flying.
If you love art and poetry, you’ll enjoy our paintings and the inspiration we took from some of the great masters of our time.
If you are interested in photography or film, you’ll engage with the settings, staging, lighting and colors of each project.
Whomever you are though, thank you for reading until this point and thank you from all of us if you can make the publication of Leap Into The Blue possible.
- (30 days)