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$1,876 pledged of $8,500 goal
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By Ryan Pett
$1,876 pledged of $8,500 goal
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About this project

** INTRO VIDEO COMING SOON! **

What is 'American Country'?

By definition, 'American Country' is the rural lands of the United States.  It can be farmland.  It can be forestland.  It can be mountainous.  It's the places you go on vacation when you want to 'get out of the city'.  It's the fresh local produce you eat.  It's the place you found inspiration for your own project maybe.  Each of us have our own 'American Country' memory... which is why I want to document them as a story of the people, places, and memories we sometimes overlook and forget.  

Why is this important?  Why should I pledge?

Every minute of every day, the United States loses more than an acre of rural land to new development.  In terms of size, the United States is 90% rural but only 16% of the population calls this land home (compared to 72% in 1910) and it continues to decline.  The combination of urban sprawl and job loss in rural areas will continue to drive the population down... and someday, it might be a thing of the past.  Sustainable, organic, and local have become popular words during recent years.  I want to put a face and story to the people who live that on a daily basis.

Also... the cost of self-publishing is EXPENSIVE.  I'm leaning on the support of my backers to be a critical part in the process.  In return, I've promised a high quality product.  I'll also keep all backers in the loop of future projects (both on and off of Kickstarter) and hopefully be able to pay back the support in spades down the road!

Tell me more about these rewards... 

The rewards are what makes Kickstarter a unique and fun place to develop projects.  As a backer, not only do you get the satisfaction of helping someone fulfill a dream, but you also get something cool in return (plus in this case... you'll get your name in a book)!  Here's a brief description of each reward - if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

- Postcard (5x7) - I'll be sending out cards from the road with a photograph from the book using 'Sincerely Ink'... just as a way to say 'thanks' and show you one of the images from the upcoming book before it's published

- Limited Edition Prints (8x10, 16x20, 24x36) - regardless of the size, each print will be done on extremely high quality, color-rich paper.  These aren't your Walgreen's instant prints.  (retail value: $50 / $115 / $275)

- Standard Edition Softcover (10 x 8) - the standard softcover edition will be done on a premium lustre (100#) paper, with a 10 x 8 (landscape) orientation.

- Standard Edition Hardcover (10 x 8) - the standard hardcover edition will be done on a premium lustre (100#) paper, with a 10 x 8 (landscape) orientation, and will have a dust jacket cover

- Extended Edition Hardcover (10 x 8) - the extended edition hardcover will be done on a pro-grade premium lustre (140#) paper, with a 10 x 8 (landscape) orientation, and will have a dust jacket cover... PLUS there will be approx 25% more pages/images in this edition versus the standard edition

- Limited Edition Hardcover (13 x 11) - the limited edition hardcover will be done on a pro-grade premium lustre (140#) paper, with a larger 13 x 10 (landscape) orientation, and will have a dust jacket cover... PLUS there will be approx 25% more pages/images in this edition versus the standard edition

*NOTE: I've estimated the final delivery of the books as December, but I'm aiming for early to mid-November.  Either way, you'll have them in time for the holidays and they make GREAT gifts!  Also - all pledge levels include shipping!

Where will you be traveling?

I'm planning on road tripping, camping, and criss-crossing the rural roads of America... from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains. I'll be finalizing my route based on final pledge commitments.

What's your plan to complete this project?

Phase I - finalize route planning and schedule (July) - thank you emails to all of my backers will be sent and eternal gratitude will also commence from this point forward

Phase II - the criss-crossing rural road adventure begins! (July - Sept) - postcards from the road will be mailed during this phase

Phase III - the road adventure ends... now it's time to review, edit, and finalize images... as well as complete page layout designs, etc (Sept - Nov)

Phase IV - the book is sent to print and copies will be signed & mailed as we receive them!  (Nov - Dec)

What does my pledge help to fund?

Most importantly, pledges go towards delivering the rewards to you!  I own the equipment necessary to complete the project, so the vast majority of funding goes into the production costs of high quality prints, top notch books, shipping, packaging, etc.  There's a small balance that goes into funding the project itself... i.e. travel expenses (predominantly fuel expenses).  THIS IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT PROJECT... all funds go directly towards producing the photographs, stories, and rewards that you receive!

What will you take photos of?

People, places, and things!  'American Country' will include portraits, rolling landscapes, county fairs, wildlife, livestock, candid scenes, and of course Kountry Kitchens!  And if luck is on our side... a couple of rodeo clowns.

Can I be in your book?

If you live in rural America... YES!  I'll be reaching out to 4H clubs, farming associations, and anyone in rural America that would be interested in spending five minutes, an hour, or a day with me to show me what it means to live American Country!  Please contact me and let me know how you think you can make American Country a better project!

Will the book be only photos?

No!  American Country is more than photos.  It's a story.  Whether it's on the farm, at the local diner, on a mountain top, or in the woods... my goal is to meet the people who make up rural America.  I'll be including some of the most interesting quips, jokes, and words of wisdom that I come across along the way.

What equipment will you be using?

I will be using professional grade equipment to produce a professional grade product.  I will be using a Nikon D800 as my primary camera, along with a Nikon D200 as backup.  The lenses I anticipate using for a majority of the images include a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, and Nikon 50mm f/1.4.  For a complete equipment list, feel free to contact me.

Do you have a 'stretch goal'?  What does the 'stretch goal' fund?

Yes.  The S T R E T C H goal is $20,000.  The additional funds would go towards lengthening the trip and purchasing additional equipment (primarily portable lighting) to execute more complex images on the road.  The reward for my backers, in return, would be longer books with more pages and more images, both in the standard and extended editions!  So, after you pledge... run and tell your friends (both real and Facebook), family, neighbors, co-workers, mailman, dentist, and the next stranger you see on the street... ask them to pledge and let's make an even more awesome book! 

Sample Images (for reference purposes only)

Sample Images (other work)

KICKSTARTER PROJECTS ARE ALL OR NOTHING... SO IF YOU PLEDGE, YOU'LL ONLY BE CHARGED IF WE CAN REACH MY GOAL!  IF I FALL SHORT OF MY PLEDGE GOAL - YOU WON'T OWE ANYTHING... AND I DON'T GET A DIME OF FUNDING.  TELL YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND CO-WORKERS! THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN ADVANCE!

Risks and challenges

With any project, there are unforeseeable challenges that could arise. The greatest challenge would be equipment failure, but I feel confident that won't be an issue. I will have a back-up camera in the event my primary camera experiences problems (unlikely). I will be shooting to multiple memory cards... and uploading them daily to TWO separate external hard drives for storage.

In the highly unlikely, catastrophic event that I am unable to complete this project - I will issue refunds to all of my backers.

If there are any setbacks, whatsoever along the way, I'll be sure to keep all of my backers in the loop. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    For $5... you'll receive a personal 'thank you' email and a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! If you can't pledge at the next level or above, don't worry! Thanks for giving what you can!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    For $25... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, and of course 4) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr...

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    For $50... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, 4) an 8 x 10 limited edition print, and of course 5) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    For $75... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) credits in the book as a supporter, 3) a signed copy of the 1st edition 10 x 8 SOFTCOVER, and of course 4) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    For $95... you'll receive everything from the $75 reward level, plus an 8 x 10 limited edition print

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    For $110... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) credits in the book as a supporter, 3) a signed copy of the 1st edition 10 x 8 HARDCOVER, and of course 4) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    For $135... you'll receive everything from the $110 reward level, plus an 8 x 10 limited edition print

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    For $175... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, 4) a 16 x 20 limited edition print or (2) 8 x 10 limited edition prints - your choice, 5) a signed copy of the 1st edition 10 x 8 EXTENDED HARDCOVER (limit 100 prints) with additional photos not included in the standard edition, and of course 6) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    For $250... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, 4) a 16 x 20 limited edition print or (2) 8 x 10 limited edition prints - your choice, 5) a signed copy of the SPECIAL LIMITED 1st edition 13 x 11 EXTENDED HARDCOVER (limit 50 prints) with additional photos not included in the standard edition, and of course 6) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    For $350... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, 4) a 24 x 36 limited edition print or a set of (3) 8 x 10 limited edition prints - your choice, 5) a signed copy of the SPECIAL LIMITED 1st edition 13 x 11 EXTENDED HARDCOVER (limit 50 prints) with additional photos not included in the standard edition, and of course 6) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    For $500... you'll receive 1) a personal 'thank you' email, 2) a postcard with an 'American Country' photo, 3) credits in the book as a supporter, 4) a set of (3) 16 x 20 limited edition prints or a set of (5) 8 x 10 limited edition prints - your choice, 5) a signed copy of the SPECIAL LIMITED 1st edition 13 x 11 EXTENDED HARDCOVER (limit 50 prints) with additional photos not included in the standard edition, and of course 6) a lifetime of gratitude for supporting the book! Plus, you'll be given access to follow my project on Instagram and Tumblr... [shipping included in pledge]

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Funding period

- (30 days)