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A 12"x12" premium quality wall calendar showcasing Doug Plummer's photography of contra dances from across the country.
A 12"x12" premium quality wall calendar showcasing Doug Plummer's photography of contra dances from across the country.
227 backers pledged $11,416 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$11,416

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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.

May Madness, Clarkdale, AZ
May Madness, Clarkdale, AZ

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.

ContraEvolution, Greenfield, MA
ContraEvolution, Greenfield, MA

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.

Lovett Hall, MI
Lovett Hall, MI

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.

Techno Contra at Glen Echo
Techno Contra at Glen Echo

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.

Doug Plummer
Seattle, WA


Links to learn more:

A view of last year's calendar
My Contra Photo Facebook page
Fiddling Frog Contra Video
What is contra dance?

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

FAQ

  • Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform. If I don't make the target, there's no calendar.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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."

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name in the calendar as a Backer.

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    10 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A refrigerator magnet with Doug's famous photo of spinning dancers from overhead. These have been generously donated by the Country Dance and Song Society, and have their name on them. It's the profile pic at https://www.facebook.com/contraphotos

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    An autographed copy of the 2014 Contradance Calendar shipped anywhere in the world (shipping fee if outside North America).

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    127 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An 8x10" signed print of any shot in any of Doug Plummer's Contradance Calendars, AND an autographed copy of the 2014 Contradance Calendar.

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    26 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    An 11"x14" print of any image in my "Today I Saw" blog AND a calendar. Look through the trove of daily images here (not a live link, copy & paste): http://dougplummer.blogs.com/daily

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    8 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    NEW REWARD: Seven autographed calendars. Your Christmas shopping is started.

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    6 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A one hour photography tutorial, on any aspect you choose, in person or by phone or Skype, AND an autographed copy of the 2014 Contradance Calendar.

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    9 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A 16"x20" signed print of any shot in any of Doug Plummer's Contradance Calendars AND an autographed copy of the 2014 Contradance Calendar.

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    3 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Twenty signed calendars. Your Christmas shopping is done.

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    11 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    I'll come to your regularly scheduled community dance and photograph it, and you can use the photos for publicity. Anywhere in the country, travel included. You might make the 2015 calendar.

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    2 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A limited edition portfolio (11" x 14") of the 12 big photos in the 2014 Contradance Calendar, AND an autographed copy.

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    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    I'll come to your special dance event and photograph for the weekend. Travel is included. You'll get the best publicity photos ever, and I'll also give my 1 hour talk, "How To Take Dance Photos That Don't Suck."

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    I'll come to your dance event and produce a promotional video. Want to know how good it could be? Check this out: http://vimeo.com/38195488

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Funding period

- (28 days)