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I would like to photograph members of the US Olympic Fencing Team in the studio in a way that few others can.

Fencing is an under-represented sport in the media, in part because the way it is currently photographed. The athletes are shot primarily in an action-sport context, which does a great job of capturing the raw emotions present in the competition, but often obscures the identity of the athletes. I would like to change that means of representation.

What I would like to do:

I would like to photograph the US Olympic and National Fencing teams in a way that very few other photographers can accomplish. My goal is to create images that will invoke a lasting impression for these athletes in order to help them obtain sponsorships, while working towards the creation of an art photo book that will showcase images of the Olympic and National team fencers. 

I come from a portrait, fashion, and beauty photography background, which gives me an understanding of how to best represent people using light, composition, and posing. I also spent 10 years involved in the sport of fencing, as a competitor, referee, and coach. This combination of experiences has given me the unique set of tools, knowledge, and connections necessary to photograph the athletes in such a way that they will be shown at their very best. 

To realize this vision, I will need your help. The costs associated with producing these photo-shoots would be prohibitive if not for a platform like Kickstarter. 

Here is a breakdown of the costs:

The cost of bringing in a makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, and hair stylist is expensive- in total it will cost about $900 to hire in a full team for an 8 hour day. The cost of renting a studio with the right lighting equipment is also expensive as well: it costs about $1000 to rent for the studio for the day with adequate lighting equipment. I will also need 2 assistants on shoot days, which will cost $400 per 8 hour day of shooting. A behind the scenes video will cost $250/ day of shooting. Finally food for the shoots will cost an additional $300/day. All of these costs add up to make the cost of shooting about $2850/day of photography.

The plan is to photograph 5 teams if it is a possibility, over the course of 5 days. That comes out to about $15,000 of fees on the production end of things.

Then, there is the cost of flying in the athletes to New York that do not live here- which will cost a minimum of $400 per athlete. I will need to find them lodging for the days that they are here, which will cost a minimum of $150 a night. The total estimated cost for this is about $4,200

Finally, producing the rewards for this kickstarter can be done for about $1500 which combined with Kickstarter's fees round everything out to about $21,000.

Here are some photos that I was able to make, financing the shoots out of pocket and some of them were made with the help of one of the sponsors: Leon Paul.

Please note that not all of these athletes were sponsored by Leon Paul. Also note that these are examples of my work, and the images are not being used commercially.

Daryl Homer, 2012 Olympian
Daryl Homer, 2012 Olympian
Soren Thompson: 2004 & 2012 Olympian
Soren Thompson: 2004 & 2012 Olympian
2012 World Champion Ben Bratton
2012 World Champion Ben Bratton
Nicole Ross: 2012 Olympian
Nicole Ross: 2012 Olympian
2012 Olympian Nzingha Prescod
2012 Olympian Nzingha Prescod
Foil Olympian Nzingha Prescod
Foil Olympian Nzingha Prescod
Foil Fencing Olympian Nzingha Prescod
Foil Fencing Olympian Nzingha Prescod
Saber Olympian Daryl Homer
Saber Olympian Daryl Homer
Saber Olympian Daryl Homer
Saber Olympian Daryl Homer
Cody Mattern 2012 World Champion
Cody Mattern 2012 World Champion

Video: Holly Buechel

Makeup/Male grooming was done by both Mirna Jose and Harry Jefferson

Hair: Mirna Jose

Wardrobe was done by Sneed & Djara

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    If you pledge $20, you will receive a "Thank You" card with an image of one of the Olympians.

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    If you pledge $150, you will receive a 9"x12" print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed by Mike Dote.

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    5 backers Limited (195 left of 200)

    If you pledge $300, you will receive a Limited edition 12"x16" framed print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. A maximum of 200 prints will be made at that size per photograph

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    If you pledge $550, you will receive a Limited edition 18"x24" framed fine art print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. A maximum of 100 prints will be made at that size per photograph

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    If you pledge $1100, you will receive a Limited edition 24"x32" framed fine art print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. Only 21 prints will be made at that size per photograph

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    If you pledge $2200, you will receive a Limited edition 30"x40" framed fine art print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. Only 7 prints will be made at that size per photograph

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    If you pledge $3500, you will receive a Limited edition 44"x57" framed fine art print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. Only 3 prints will be made at that size per photograph

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    If you pledge $5,500 you will receive a Limited edition 44"x57" framed fine art print of one of the Olympians/World team members, signed and numbered by both Mike Dote and the Athlete in the photograph. Only 3 prints will be made at that size per photograph. In addition, you will be listed as a sponsor in the credits of the behind the scenes video from each of the shoots!

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