The funding has been reached. Thank you! If you are still interested in the project - as previously stated the total estimated cost is between $6,000 and $8,000 - so any extra contribution is welcomed and there are still plenty of prints left.
I'll be going down to Christchurch, New Zealand approximately a year after a large earthquake hit the city (Feb 2012). I'll be photographing the recovery efforts through landscape and portrait images, asking what has changed, and what hasn't. The resulting project will be a photo essay that I will pitch to major media outlets and also self-published book. The project will be used to keep this story in the American dialogue of foreign events and foreign aid.
This is a beautiful part of the world that is currently undergoing a huge challenge and my work will bring visibility to the recovery efforts and the people involved. It's not just the infrastructure that is being repaired there, it is the local economy and the tourism industry. Increasing the awareness of the situation has the potential to aid recovery efforts.
That being said, I'm personally connected to this place.
In 2004 I spent a life-changing six months living on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. To be specific, I lived in the town of Sumner, a small but spirited beach town outside the city of Christchurch. The landscape, the lifestyle and most importantly the wonderful people of this part of the world inspired me in multiple ways that still impact my life every day. My time in New Zealand was the spark for my photographic career, and the first time I ever felt compelled to photograph seriously.
In September of 2010 Christchurch was hit with a large earthquake that caused extensive damage. In February of 2011 the city was hit with another quake that was much more damaging. This earthquake changed the structural and economic course of the city in many ways, and also tragically took the lives of many people.
"We may well be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day." NZ Prime Minister John Key said after seeing the city's destruction.
I have always intended to make it back to New Zealand, to share with my loved ones the place I love so much, but now the landscape has changed and people of Christchurch are fighting to rebuild their city and their economy. A large part of who I am belongs to this city and I want to use my photography to help in their rebuilding process.
My intent is to be in Christchurch at approximately the one year anniversary of the earthquake that changed the city. I will photograph the people and let them tell their stories, pairing environmental portraits with text excerpts written by those that I photograph. I will also photograph the landscape of the city, the wreckage, the rebuilding and the surrounding region.
I will work with NGO's on the ground (I've made contact with an organization called Rebuild Christchurch as well as local Rotary chapters agreeing to help) as well as use local connections from my time living there to meet residents in and around Christchurch posing to them two simple questions:
1) What has changed since the earthquake?
2) What has stayed the same?
I will also consider these responses as I make landscape photographs of the city and region.
I plan to spend approximately 4 to 6 weeks in the area working on this project.
The end result of the project will be manifest in various forms. The first product will be a photo essay that I will pitch to mainstream media outlets that will be both timely and unique, hopefully getting the word out so that people do not forget about Christchurch's struggles. In addition to this I plan to self-publish a print book with the images and text exceprts.
Why I need your help and why I'm the right person for this project:
Simply stated - this project won't be cheap. The costs I need to cover include airfare (approx 2k), lodging (approx $1200 for a month in hostels), food and last but not least photography costs. The project will be shot on medium format film, with an estimated total cost of $1500 for film and processing.
I'll do my best to mitigate costs. I've been known to hitchhike and sleep on floors when the opportunities arise, but estimate alone brings us to $4,700 with out accounting for food and local transportation as well as incidental expenses. I am prepared to contribute money to this project, but I don't have enough to do it on my own. I'm hoping you'll see the value in helping. If I reach my goal here I'll be able to use approximately $3,200 for the project with the rest going towards the awards and Kickstarter's 5% cut. I know that if I can reach my goal here I'll have enough to cover the balance.
I have tremendous passion and curiosity for this part of the world, and a vested personal interest in this project in bringing attention to a place I love.
As a professional photographer I have been published in various books, magazines and newspapers, including the American Photography annual. I have a client base that includes the New York Times, and the Wall St. Journal and a photography agency in Redux Pictures of New York that can help me find a home to publish this work.
In addition to editorial work I've collaborated with non-profits that serve both environmental and social justice roles, and my work has helped to tell the stories of everyone from the farmers of Mississippi to refugees in the suburbs of Chicago. My passion is meeting people and making pictures to tell their stories, and I want to go do this in the place that started this passion for me.
A sample of work covering a local refugee assistance foundation can be seen here, while a sample of work in conjunction with the National Network of Forest Practitioners and the Center for Rural Strategies can be seen here.
Thank you for your consideration.
For current seismic activity in NZ please see: http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/recent_quakes.html
You'll notice it's still a bumpy place.
P.S. - if you liked the music in the video please check out Bryyn. He's an American scientist and musician living in Switzerland and one of the most interesting, intelligent and creative people I've had the pleasure of meeting.
- (32 days)