I believe in the power of photography & art to inspire and create change in the world. Spinning Compass is a photography project about travelers, but even more than that, it is about encouraging people to take risks. I have learned through this project that people will give you so much more than expected, if you just ask. The most incredible experience I have had while working on this project, is interacting with the people that I have photographed. Everyone has been so kind and interested in the project, the participants have been truly amazing. I have created a blog for the people that take part in the project, every single person that is photographed for the project appears on the blog and they can request copies of the portraits. I am tracking my progress on the Spinning Compass blog and will be continually updating it
My intention is to finish the photography aspect of this project by September 2012. Upon completion I plan to publish a book, which will have photographs of travelers from each locale, as well as their answers to the questionnaire. I will seek a publisher for the book, however if I cannot find one, I will self-publish the book. The photography aspect of the project is around 30% complete at this time. I am working on this project for my Master's in Documentary Photography, it will be my thesis, which is due in December of 2012. Therefore, it will be completed by this deadline.
Listen to an interview with me, about my artwork, career path, and this project on the 'Be A Beacon' show with David Cohen.
How the funds will be utilized:
The funds will be utilized to help with travel costs to visit the 7 remaining cities, my goal is to visit 10 cities from all over the world. I have photographed in 3 cities so far. I started this project in Nepal in June of 2011, where I photographed 97 people. I have since photographed 37 people in New Orleans, and 72 in Maui. I have just come back from a second trip to New Orleans, where I photographed another 45 people. Next, I travel to Europe, where I will photograph travelers in some of these cities; Berlin, Prague, or Amsterdam, Morocco, Israel, Bali or Bangkok, Hong Kong or Tokyo, Italy, Croatian or Greek Islands, Dubai or Abu Dhabi, the remaining cities I visit, depends on Kickstarter and people like you. I am asking each person that has taken part in the project and all donors to vote on the remaining 7 cities. I would love to hear which countries you are most interested in seeing represented.
The Questionnaire given to all Particpants:
01. How long have you been traveling (or) living here?
02. What is your main reason for being here?
03. Is there an element of spiritual enlightenment to your journey here, pls explain?
04. What are you reading?
05. What are you carrying with you that has no practical purpose & why?
06. Is there someone that you are missing (& or) who are you traveling with?
07. If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be right now?
08. How old are you? Where were you born? Where do you live?
09. What are you doing next?
10. What’s your Facebook status update?
11. What do you like (or) dislike about being here?
12. How do you spend most of your time here?
13. Please write down your email address, if you would like to see the pictures.
The Spinning Compass Official Artists Statement:
wondered what the map would look like of all the steps he had taken in
his life and what word it would spell." - Paul Auster, City of Glass
It is estimated that this year (2011) alone over 900 million people will internationally arrive at a destination, and over half of those will be for leisure, recreation and holiday.
I began traveling quite young, however my first visit to a third world country was thirteen years ago, to Nepal in 1998. I spent six months in South East Asia on that journey and it was then, I was introduced to the culture of travel. What amazed me is the huge subculture that it is, once you know about it, it is as if a whole new world opens up filled with possibility. Since that time, I have traveled to more than 25 countries on four continents. This project arose from my knowledge and experiences of traveling, and a desire to explore the travelers, as opposed to the places traveled.
People choose to travel for diverse reasons, one thing that is sure is that travelers/tourists are a melting pot of humanity. We travel to learn, to relax, to celebrate, to feel alive, for business, to empathise, to gain understanding, and many of us travel to experience a different way of life. Traveling and fantasizing about travel is like a dream or vision or another reality, one that is attainable. The truth is that we are exposed to our own nature through our judgements of others and in turn, we gain the ability to be surprised. This project is an exploration of the people that take part in this way of life, whether it be for a week, a month, or years. Travelers/tourists step outside of what is considered the norm of day to day and into a unique reality.
My method for finding my subjects is simple. I go to the most touristic area in a location and find a spot slightly off street, then basically ask every traveler that passes, if I can photograph them. When I began planning this project, I was incredibly nervous about asking strangers to be photographed. One of the funny things, I have observed when traveling, in particular in more ‘off the beaten path’ places, is many travelers don’t smile or even look at each other on the street. It’s almost as if they want to pretend they are alone in the environment, and if they don’t notice you, they can do so. Thus, the fact that around 90% of the people I have asked, have said yes to being photographed, as well as taken the time to fill out my long questionnaire has been a great surprise. An element of this process that is important for me, is to photograph the people first and then ask them to fill out the questionnaire. This keeps my knowing anything about them out of the photographic process.
This project is a work in progress, as I will continue in numerous cities around the world. This project began in Kathmandu, Nepal in June of 2011 and has continued in New Orleans, Louisiana and Maui, Hawaii. At the moment I have plans to photograph more travelers in Morocco and Israel, among other cities around the world. The backdrop and questionnaire will remain the same in each locale.
 World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Once you reach reward level 4 - $50 & over, you will need to choose an image for printing. My most popular images are available to view on my website (check the Extreme Landscapes & Sacred Sites portfolio) & my image only blog. Of course you can always choose a print from the 'Spinning Compass' project. Here are a few samples of images you can choose for your print:
The Light Box Rewards:
Once you reach reward level #10 - $1000 & over, you will need to choose either 1 or 2 images for the light box. These light boxes are custom made by both me & a very talented wood-worker. They are absolutely perfect for your home or office. They are beautiful either single-sided or free-standing. You can choose a white or brown cord, as well as dark or light wood.
Here are some images of the light boxes lit up at night in an outdoor setting:
The following is a close up of both sides of a double-sided light box:
The prints & light boxes will be delivered by June 2012. The book will go into production as soon as I have completed the project. I expect the delivery date for the book to be December 2013 at the very latest. I will keep everyone updated as the project progresses.
Please share my story with your friends & family:
I hope some of my amazing international friends will support the project at any level, if you would like to support the project, please add these extra shipping costs, see the reward levels:
#4 - $50 = add $10
#5 - $75 = add $15
#6 - $100 = add $25
#7 - $150 = add $30
#8 - $250 = add $40
#9 - $500 = add $45
#10 - $1000 = add $90
#11 - $1500 = add $130
Thank you so much for supporting the project, it means the world to me to be able to continue working on this. I truly believe in Kickstarter & this awesome way to help people make their visions come to life!
- (45 days)