"Travel From The Heart" is a story that celebrates discovery and promotes the expansion of conscious awareness, advocating the importance of travel and creativity, and inspiring all to seek a fresh perspective.
**UPDATE** I just reached my goal with about 52 hours to go! Thanks so much to all who've contributed. I cannot wait to start this journey, and I'm so happy to be able to share it with all of you. If anyone would still like to support the project, please know that EVERY PENNY that is raised over the goal amount will go directly toward funding this project. There will be so much to do when I return including publication, distribution and printing for exhibitions. And anyone who supports the project gets to share the excitement of being on the road! Many Many Thanks!***
As a visual artist and photographer I've often thought of my projects as quests for enlightenment, and I've often compared the slow, contemplative process of pinhole photography to meditation. I've travelled extensively, and although I’ve never gone on a journey with the sole purpose of visiting revered holy places, I’ve always felt that each journey was a spiritual experience.
In order to explore these connections further I’ve decided to go on a spiritual pilgrimage, documenting the experience and creating new work along the way. I’ll be visiting the four sacred sites of Buddhism- The place where the Buddha was born, Lumbini, Nepal; the place where he attained enlightenment, Bodhgaya, India; the place where he gave his first sermon, Sarnath, India; and the place where he died, Kushinagar, India. To complete the experience, I’ve also signed-up for a 10-day Vipassana meditation course.
Come be a part of this journey!
Why pinhole photography and meditation?
Using analog film and a pinhole camera slows down the photographic process and opens up the creative process, pushing one to contemplate more fully the subject at hand. To capture a single image, several exposures of varying lengths must be made, ranging from 1-2 seconds to 20-30 seconds. Any movement will result in a blurred image so the photographer must remain completely still. At the same time, one can play around with extended or multiple exposures and use these options to create a unique representation of the subject.
One of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation is Vipassana, which means “to see things as they really are”. It is described as “a way of self-transformation through self-observation” and focuses on the connection between mind and body. There is no charge for the course I'll be taking. All expenses are covered by donations from people who've previously completed the course.
I’m eager to learn how the fully immersive, silent 10-day course will compare to what I have felt in previous meditative experiences and how it will affect my creative work as well as my daily life.
When fully immersed in the creative process, a highly concentrated, yet open-minded, meditative state transpires within the creator. It is this flow that I’ll be exploring and connecting with on many different levels throughout the pilgrimage- literally through the Vipassana meditation course, and figuratively through the act of creating photographic and written observations while traveling as a pilgrim in a foreign land.
Why India and the Buddhist Pilgrimage?
I’m a devoted yoga practitioner and avid traveler with a keen interest in Eastern spiritual philosophies. I’ve volunteered in India, practiced Vedic meditation, and created a photographic project with a Zen Buddhist monk in Japan, in addition to the pinhole photographs I’ve created in Brazil and other places throughout my global travels. In this project, these passions and experiences come together to be developed further in the land of their birth.
As far as religious affiliations are concerned- I don’t attach myself to a single one. I would not necessarily call myself a Buddhist, but through my studies and personal experiences with Buddhism, I’ve found that many of its core values and practices resonate strongly with me. I see this journey as a way to discover more about the roots of Buddhism and explore the relevance of spiritual pilgrimages in contemporary society. Through photographic and written reflections on the journey, I hope to shed some light on the connections between the ritual practices of meditation, travel and art-making, in order to cultivate and share with others an appreciation for their importance in the role of personal growth in our modern era.
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
The first step in creating a new and better world, is creating a new and better self. There are many different ways, but this is what has worked for me and this is my advice-
Change how you see. See how you change.
When completed with perseverance, patience and an open-mind, the ritual practices of yoga, meditation, travel, and art-making are a sure path to developing compassion, invoking inspiration, and cultivating happiness. These are the very things I'll be able to share with you through this project.
How can you participate?
Resources for creative projects are sparse. Kickstarter provides a platform that allows you, the backer, to personally engage with meaningful projects that have the potential to make a huge impact on the world. Your funding will cover the costs of film, camera equipment, and post-production editing, scanning and preparation for publishing and exhibition of prints. It will also cover the costs of accommodations, food, and transportation to, from, and within India and Nepal. In exchange, you’ll become a part of the journey and receive a piece of the project to call your own.
The project will be documented online from now, through the completion of the photo book and prints, and beyond. There will be much more to do when I return from the journey, including publication and exhibition. It's a project that definitely has potential to continue to evolve further as well.
Kickstarter is all or nothing! So if the goal is not reached by the deadline, the project will not receive any funding. On the other hand, any amount exceeded over the goal will be used directly to extend the reach of the work completed and develop the ideas behind it to the next level.
As a backer, you’ll have exclusive access to the development and growth of the project from its infancy. I truly look forward to nurturing the ideas at the core of this project with all of you.
Risks and challenges
This is not the first time I’ve undertaken a photographic project abroad, and I am fully determined to see this project through to completion, no matter what bumps I come across in the road.
My experience as a traveler has taught me to prepare in advance- map out the route and prepare the transit schedule, calculate the costs, take care of the necessary paperwork early. But I also know from experience that no matter how much you prepare, on every journey, you will nevertheless run into things you never expected. Surprises, good and bad, happen in daily life as much as when you’re out on the road, unfortunately sometimes when you’re in a foreign land its not always so easy to figure out how to deal with them.
Traveling and working abroad requires excellent improvisational skills and the ability to remain calm in the fiercest of storms. Both my previous experiences abroad and the inner strength and focus I’ve developed through my yoga practice has helped me develop the skills necessary to complete the task at hand. I’ll keep them handy in my camera bag and with them I’ll be able to overcome any obstacle in my path.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)