I have recently run across a few Kickstarter appeals, folks want financial help to publish their photobooks. That is, they want the production costs to be fully committed so they can print their book. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether, if their Kickstarter fails, they will print their book anyway. Probably some will and some won't.
Now, I have nothing against Kickstarter, or those who choose to use it. But what ever happened to good-old commitment, to doing something without having it fully funded? What ever happened to saying to yourself, "This is important to me and, money or not, I'm going to make it happen?".
Here at STRAYLIGHT we do things a bit differently. We commit to publishing a book and then hope that it will sell enough for our commitment to pay off. And, once it does, the profits are split between STRAYLIGHT and the photographer. Let me tell you, it sure feels good to send a photographer a cheque.
Come the new year, though, we're going to try something new. Kind of like a Kickstarter, in that there will be a concerted campaign to raise money for a fairly substantial project. Yes, it's my project: OFFICIAL OTTAWA. And, yes, if you contribute you will receive a prize.
But here's the rub . . . we're not going to ask you for money so that we can publish this project and send you the finished product (although, if you do contribute you will get the finished product), because we're going to publish this work, no matter what. No, we're going to be asking for money so that folks who didn't contribute will get the finished product. Kind of like paying it forward.
The idea is to cover the costs of the publication, then print a whole bunch of said publication and either give them away or sell 'em for, like, next to nothing.
We're still in the thinking-this-out phase of this craaazy idea, there are bound to be unforeseen wrinkles. But what else is new? If you're interested in this idea, stay tuned, more after the holidays.
And here's hoping there is some happy in your holidays.
The STRAYLIGHT catalogue so far . . .
An excerpt fro the ATTACK bit of ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP . . .
BACK ON THE CORNER july 11, 2010
I had always intended to shoot one more year of USER,.
All the previous years I had gone down to the corner with a pretty good idea of what I wanted the pictures to look like. But this year I had no idea. Well, that’s not entirely accurate . . . I knew I wanted the images to be less dramatic than those I’d shot before, more “straight-up”, and, maybe, I wanted some of the new work to show bits of the narrative of life on the corner. But I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that, what I actually wanted the pictures to look like. So I kept putting off returning to the corner.
Then, this past Sunday I just said “FUCKIT”, loaded my cameras and went down.
The very first person I met there was a stranger to me and in no mood for anything other than hitting her pipe. So I wandered down the street and, before you know it, old acquaintances started to drop by, chat a bit and pose for photos.
My shooting was all over the place. I figured I’d just make stuff up as I went along, follow my instincts and not worry too much about what I was doing or how I was doing it.
Regular readers know how I feel about allowing myself to make mistakes, and I figured I may as well just shoot and see how the film turns out. Hope that in there, somewhere, I’ll stumble upon some way, some image, that shows me where I need to go.
It’s all process, baby.
Then I bumped into Star and her friend Rikki. They wanted me to take a shot of them together and, even though I had only been shooting one-shots, thought: “Why not?” They sat down and Rikki started to put on some makeup. Star helped her and, there you go, stuff just happens.
It’s all process, baby.
And don't forget . . . all purchases of $20 or more between now and Christmas will come with a free, original, signed 5x5 inch print of James and Alysha, Ottawa, 2007. From USER.
From now until Christmas, all STRAYLIGHT purchases $20 and over, will come with a free, original, signed, 5x5 inch print: James and Alysha, Ottawa, 2007. This image, by Tony Fouhse, is from his project USER and appears, along with a story, in the STRAYLIGHT publication ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP.
This past Saturday, STRAYLIGHT hosted its first-ever event. A pop up store, mini exhibition and launch of our 2 new titles (HOME, by Timothy Archibald and ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP, by Tony Fouhse).
Big thanks to all the folks who came out in support and voted with their wallets. We surpassed (by a factor of 3) our sales expectations and had interesting conversations with friends and strangers. No fights broke out.
As well as showcasing an exhibition of a special edit (the "Attack" edit) of OFFICIAL OTTAWA, there was an impromptu showing of the Boreal Collective's pull-apart newsprint, TENSION.
We learned a lot from this first-ever effort and have our thinking caps on for new, improved, ways to bring our publications (not to mention our ethos) out into the real world more often, in ways that engender community and even, maybe, raise issues as well as awareness.
Here are some pix, by Yannis Souris (thank you very much), from the event. Top to bottom: Tony Fouhse and Yannis Souris, Tony making a pitch to Lilly Koltun while Lynda Hall grins on the border, the Attack edit of Official Ottawa . . .
And, a reminder that you can always order STRAYLIGHT publications at our webstore. We'll ship 'em right to your door.
Now I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas (the season and the Day). It's all (if you ask me) squeeze and release. The squeeze is long and drawn out and the release comes fast, if you know what I mean.
Too, Christmas comes with certain responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities are pleasant (getting together with friends and family, shopping), or, depending upon your disposition and circumstance, less pleasant (getting together with family, shopping).
But there's no denying the power of Christmas, all of us Christian-types (believers and non-believers) have to step up.
Which brings me to what I wanted to say here today . . . STRAYLIGHT Press is doing a one day event. A pop up store, the launch of two new STRAYLIGHT publications and an actual photo-exhibition.
And how, you might ask, does this relate to Christmas?
Let me tell you.
You need to buy presents, right? Maybe you, or someone you know, is interested in photography. You kind of like the idea of supporting local, independent publishing. It's a no-brainer . . .
Come on down to the pop up and buy some presents (don't forget to get one for yourself, too). There, that's that sorted.
POP UP STORE
We'll be selling books from our catalogue. And you'll be able to have a look through the books we've produced that are out-of-print, too.
Cover and page spread: From the Study on Post Pubescent Manhood, by Stacy Kranitz (out-of-print)
Cover and page spread: HOMIES, by Adam Amengual (out-of-print)
We're launching 2 brand new STRAYLIGHT publications. Home, by Timothy Archibald and ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP, by Tony Fouhse.
Cover and page spread from HOME
Cover and page spread from ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP
Drop by to have a look at a special edit of OFFICIAL OTTAWA, by Tony Fouhse. He's calling this the "ATTACK EDIT".
Culled from 150 or so images that comprise the complete OFFICIAL OTTAWA series, this edit was inspired by the recent attack on Parliament Hill. This sequence doesn't describe that attack, it speaks to the institutions that are behind (or perhaps, beside) the way things are.
Charles Bordeleau, Chief of Police
Drop by, do some Xmas shopping, feel good about supporting local, independent publishing, talk (or argue) about photography.