For many of us, contra dance is a wellspring of bliss. We drink from it every time we go to the dance. We connect, wordlessly, with our partners, with our circle, with the line and with the room. We all feel the moment together. We feel joy within these orderly movements. Some of us improvise and play. But most of all, we connect with a community that values inclusiveness and shared joy. These are the feelings I try to record with my camera.
I am a professional photographer, and I have been photographing dance as long as I have been dancing, since the mid 1980's. With the rise of social media I've had a platform to share the work and give it back to the community, and, in a way, to proselytize contra dance to the masses. Over the years I have let dozens of dance organizations use my photos, at no charge, to publicize their events.
If you came to this page from outside the dance community, and you're clueless about what I'm taking about: contra dance is America's indigenous folk dance from New England. It is a social dance form danced to live music. Couples move up or down a longways set to the prompting of a caller. Traditionally the music comes from the New England/Celtic/Quebequois traditions, but the last 30 years has seen an explosion of music styles to now include old-time, jazz, world music, fusion, and techno.
For the last two years I have self-published the Contradance Calendar, where I show the best of my photographs of the dance and music scene from the previous year. It is a priority for me to show the contra dance world as geographically and demographically diverse as my travels permit. The 2014 calendar will include dances in New England, Michigan, California, the Pacific NW and Arizona, and with styles ranging from elegant balls to techno contras.
The calendar is a large, 12"x12" wall calendar, with a functional, elegant design by Joanne Lauterjung Kelly. There are 4 photos per month--one big one, and three inserts. The date boxes are big enough to write things in. It's on a 100# paper stock, printed locally, and with great attention to print and image quality. I have a pre-press expert to convert the image files before they go to print. The print run will be limited to 800 calendars. This is a premium calendar. It is not cheap to produce.
Last year, because of your support through Kickstarter and through subsequent sales of the calendar, I almost broke even (at least regarding the production expenses--the travel to photograph these dances I subsidize with my professional photo assignments). This year, I'm asking for a little more so that all the production gets paid for this time. Here is what your support will enable:
- Printing $5,800.00
- Pre-press $1,500.00
- Design $750.00
- Reward shipping $2,000.00
- Promotion $250.00
- Kickstarter fees $900.00
- TOTAL $11,200.00
I am not going to put much, if any, effort into post-production sales. Retail is too hard, and I've lost money trying. Your best opportunity to acquire a calendar is to buy one now, in one of the reward categories to the right. Please, support the project, and spread the word in your Facebook feeds, among your friends, and at your dances.
Keep on blissing. Thank you.
Links to learn more:
Risks and challenges
Well, I've done this twice already, so I have some understanding of the pitfalls. One is not to rely on retail sales. That's why the ask is as big as it is--I'm either going to make it a go or I'm not. Kickstarter is awesome for changing my relationship with the dance community, and I am humbled by the feeling of social indebtedness that I have with you all. This project is yours now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform. If I don't make the target, there's no calendar.
No, mostly. I'm abandoning retail sales as a way to pay for the calendar. That's why I'm asking for all the production funds up front. The CDSS store has committed to buying only 50 calendars for their store, and they will be the only way to get a calendar online. There will be no other source, unless you see me at a dance and I've happened to bring a few.
It's only May. Why are you asking support for something I don't think about buying until they go on sale after New Years?
Because by June you're all off dancing and at music camps and not checking your Facebook status. And fall is too late to start the production cycle, and it's my busiest season.
The same way those musicians play those amazing tunes: practice. I've been a professional photographer for 30 years, and photographing the dance scene for 25. My professional work takes me around the country, and I look for dances nearby. It is the significant, long term project of my photographic life.
I can teach you to take photos that connect with your heart and your feelings, and they're going to look like your photos, not mine. I'm teaching a 4 day workshop this summer at the BACDS AmWeek dance camp in California, titled, "How To Take Dance Photos That Don't Suck."
Support this project
- (28 days)