Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 2, 2011.


While living in Japan from 2001-2004, I was inspired to become a photographer. 7 years later, I'll see my old friend with new eyes...


Hi, my name is Stirling Elmendorf and I’m a freelance photographer living in San Francisco California.

My photographic inspiration began 10 years ago when I moved to rural Japan, on Shikoku- the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Somehow, Japan changed me and my view of the world forever. I felt a need to distill my feelings and share them in an efficient and translatable format. It’s time to honor that inspiration with a vision unlike anything you’ve seen before...

I’m returning in February to photograph people and places that were so inspiring to me. I’ll create a powerful series of fine art photos that will fuse Japan’s natural beauty, it’s rich and colorful society and it’s textured, man-made structures- both traditional and modern- beautiful and decaying... These photos will be part of the ジャパン2.0 - (JAPAN 2.0) photo book and website. The images will also be part of a photo exhibition in my Japantown neighborhood, here in San Francisco.

I’d like to share places that are still unknown and hidden from most people, even those who visit Japan. It’s a Japan that you can only see when you are closely connected with the Japanese people. I’ll be shooting intimate portraits of these great old friends and new friends along the way.

I’ll be recording my impressions on what made these locations so special to me, along with the changes I’m bound to observe on my return... Changes in Japan - and changes in me. How are things the same? How are they different? These thoughts will accompany the images in the book and on the website, along with some “before” shots as a graphical, evolutionary reference.

I’ll fly from San Francisco to Osaka and head straight to Shikoku, traveling from coastal fishing villages to mountainous waterfalls and rivers - exploring the lost, misty and magical Japan that so few foreigners ever experience...

After Shikoku, I’ll head north to Osaka and Kyoto, two amazing cities with greatly contrasting modern and traditional elements. Will Osaka still inspire me with the same dystopian wonder? Will Kyoto reveal hidden, silent messages that I missed before?

The last portion of the trip will be spent in Tokyo, which will be so opposite to Shikoku... Yet, what fibers tie these places together? How will I perceive and capture these interests?

This trip is about taking a fluid and direct approach to photography. I’ve spent the last 5 years shooting for all kinds of great clients, in a variety of technical situations. What will change in my work when I relax the controls and let Japan speak to me once more? What sparkling inspirations will reveal themselves?

All the funding pledged for this trip will fuel art production and working expenses. You are a click away from extremely limited, original artwork that I’ll be honored to share with you. Would you like to give me some direction for a special commissioned piece that will be uniquely yours? Maybe I’ll fly out to visit you for a full day photo class...

I’m really excited, hopeful and happy about this project. I’m thankful to my past clients for their support over the years and I’m extremely privileged to share this project with new clients and friends out there with an interest in Japan, fine photography and original artwork.

Arigatou gozaimasu!
Thank you very much!


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    3 backers

    ウェブサイト!Acknowledgement on - the official website of the project! (or remain anonymous- your choice!)

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    9 backers

    プリント!A 4x6" JAPAN 2.0, signed, print of your choice, plus acknowledgement on website!

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    45 backers

    ビッグプリント! An 8x12" JAPAN 2.0, signed print of your choice, plus acknowledgement on the website!

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    29 backers Limited (1 left of 30)

    ブック ! The official JAPAN 2.0 photography book (signed), plus acknowledgement in the book and on the website!

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    16 backers Limited (4 left of 20)

    ティーシャツファッション! PICK TWO! (1) Original collaborative JAPAN 2.0 t-shirt effort with SF designer Matt Hulme. (2) A signed copy of the beautiful JAPAN 2.0 book. (3) A signed, archival, limited edition 16x24" fine art print, plus acknowledgement in the book and on the website!

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    7 backers Limited (8 left of 15)

    トリポルボーナス!TRIPLE BONUS! A 16x24" signed, archival, limited edition fine art print, PLUS the signed JAPAN 2.0 photographic book, PLUS the limited JAPAN 2.0 t-shirt, plus the acknowledgements in the book and the website!

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    カスタムアート!! YOUR OWN CUSTOM ARTWORK!! You tell me a specific genre of photo (portrait, landscape, urban, architecture, abstract) then the "theme" of the photo- say... yellow, skies, black and white, etc? Use your creativity and I'll create a unique image for you and this print will be a super limited edition of ONE for each "patron" who commissions the work. The print will be a signed, 20x30" print on archival paper. You will also receive the JAPAN 2.0 book with acknowledgements in the book and on the website!

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    アートマニアック!CUSTOM ARTWORK THAT YOU COMMISSION in 24x36" size, edition of 1, on archival paper, PLUS the signed JAPAN 2.0 photo book, PLUS the JAPAN 2.0 t-shirt, PLUS special producer credit in the front of the book and acknowledgement on the website.

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    パソナルクラス! PHOTO CLASS!! I'll fly out to meet you anywhere in the continental US (international options-we can discuss) for a full-day photography class focusing on your choice of photographic disciplines. You will also receive a large 24x30" print from our class together, as well as the signed JAPAN 2.0 photo book, t-shirt and executive producer credit in the front of the JAPAN 2.0 book, plus acknowledgement on the website.

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    アートシリス!FINE ART PRINT SERIES!! A beautiful selection of three VERY large 40x60" prints- ideal for a business lobby or an amazing triptych for your home. This will be three images selected by you and limited to editions of ONE of each print in this size and only two sets will be available! These prints will be printed on 100% cotton rag and will be produced by one of the finest printers in the US. A truly stunning collection at 5 FEET by 3.3 FEET per image! Large scale and spectacular!!

Funding period

- (28 days)