Flint, MI often tops lists of most violent cities in America.
While this may be true statistically, there is a deeper story running through the city. Economic struggles, mass poverty, and a high level of violence do exist in Flint. But behind these issues are real people.
We (Brett Carlsen and Juan Madrid) started this project in the summer of 2012 while Brett was an intern at The Flint Journal. He fell in love with the city and got in contact with Juan about collaborating on a project about Flint. Juan took the chance to explore a place other than upstate New York and the city also captivated him.
Through extended stays and explorations of Flint, we have been let into the lives of many different people who make the city what it is. Our interactions have given us each our own unique understanding of Flint and its history.
We want to give something back to the community while also creating a wider context for conversations concerning the issues Americans are facing today.
Portraiture, landscapes, found still lives, and reportage all come together to create a sense of a city that still hurts, that's still working through struggle - but is trying to get through it. Focusing on the negatives is the easiest way out - we are connecting with the city on a human level in all of its beauty and ugliness.
With your help, we will be able to release a newsprint publication in the city for free and elsewhere for a low price. By giving people a window into the lives of others we are taking journalism back from a news media that is overwrought with sensationalism and fear-mongering.
We are also working on an exhibition within the city and an app. We want to democratize art and photography by removing it from the gallery setting and creating a community based showing that allows more people to understand and talk about photography but also starts conversations about the issues the photographs present and hopefully leads to action.
The app presents us with a unique way of getting the work out in the world and gives us more flexibility to use photography in a different manner while broadening our audience.
This project has been completely self-funded thus far.
We have both made multiple trips to the city and will continue to for the rest of our lives. Flint has made an amazing impact on us and we want to share that with anyone willing to look beyond the surface.
The majority of funding will go to the design and production of the newsprint and app. Any excess will then go into setting up the exhibition and to offset costs of travel and gear rental (if necessary).
We hope that the general public will realize the impact of the systems that run this country and that it will take a great deal of effort to fix the problems we face.
By funding this project, you will help keep real journalism alive and well, bringing it into the hands of the people.
Photography may not change the world, but it can change people.
And people can change the world.
8 x 10 print options:
John John and His Dogs by Juan Madrid
Night Scene with Classic Car by Brett Carlsen
11 x 14 print options:
Punching Bag by Juan Madrid
Trap House by Brett Carlsen
Signed and editioned 8 x 10 prints:
North Side Mural by Juan Madrid
Messo by Brett Carlsen
40 x 40 lightbox print:
Flint by Juan Madrid
40 x 26 lightbox print:
Pitbull Puppy, 6 Weeks Old by Brett Carlsen
See more of our work here:
Risks and challenges
While all projects have risks and challenges, we don't foresee any huge issues. We've already self-funded our trips to Flint and have amassed a solid collection of photographs. We have at least one more stay in the city planned for October.
The design and production side of the project will be a lot of work but also should not be overly challenging - Brett has worked for multiple newspapers and I was an editor for Draft 10, a magazine produced entirely by five seniors at Rochester Institute of Technology; we are used to deadlines and working with others. We are currently planning on printing through Conveyor Arts. If that falls through, we have backup printing companies to choose from.
We hope to go to print over the winter in time for a spring release. If we can up the timeline for a December release we may, though we do not want to rush it and produce something we aren't proud of.
We have not settled on a designer, but will be able to make a clearer decision on that when we are funded.
The biggest obstacle will be the app. It will take a great amount of effort and time, but we are both willing to work with our noses to the grindstone with a developer to get this done in a timely manner and to produce a quality form of storytelling.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)