Just caught wind of what is turning out to be an incredible project from Imminent Disaster. Check out the Kickstarter, because money talks, but please take the time to support however you can. More from Disaster on the project after the jump.
“Homeland” is a Wet-Plate Collodion photo essay focusing on grassroots efforts to rebuild life after the collapse of the American economy. By documenting communities and individuals in NYC and across the country, this project aims to connect disparate communities and individuals into a national movement with common ideological threads. The range of projects documented will include urban farms, bicycle collectives, off-the grid homes, alternative fuel producers, art and theatre collectives, community dinners, free schools and after-school programs, squats, itinerants, tent cities and other grassroots social practices.
So you might have heard me talking about Wet-Plate photos, or mentioning that I might be leaving town on a cross-country trip at some undetermined date in the future. Both of these things are true and part of one and the same thing, which is a project I have been brewing up since last November. I am finally at a point where I am confident the project is happening. I just bought the car on Monday, a VW Golf Diesel, which gets about 50mpg, that I can run on biodiesel, from a funny man on Staten Island that I’m still dealing with to get the title figured out.
But all in all, this project is happening, I launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday, and I will be in New Orleans in time to shoot plates at Mardi-Gras, and be able to arrange shoots along the east coast on my way home.
That being said… I should probably tell you about the project. The working title is “Homeland.” It’s a Wet-Plate Collodion photo essay focusing on grassroots efforts to rebuild and re-envision life after the collapse of the American economy. Cities such as New Orleans, Detroit, Pittsburgh and NYC will be documented, as well as many smaller towns and rural areas in between. The range of projects documented will include urban farms, bicycle collectives, off-the grid homes, alternative fuel producers, art and theatre collectives, community dinners, free schools and after-school programs, squats, itinerants, tent cities and many other grassroots social practices.
The purpose for this sort of project comes out of my participation in what most of us recognize as being a national network of creative people who are doing radical projects independently across the country. I think my interest in this as a subject matter has certain academic biases–if that sort of thing doesn’t interest you, I hope you’ll forgive me for it, and if it does, I hope you’ll inquire further. I wish to use the network that I have been growing over the past few years to help plan my trip, and then allow serendipity to lead me wherever it may. I do have certain parameters for what subjects I want to shoot– people whose small acts have created a radical change in their environment, where that environment is especially harsh or adverse towards the flourishing of people in it.
If you aren’t familiar with Wet-Plate, it is a photographic process that was invented in 1851 and was in use during the same period as the daguerrotype. A plate of glass or tin is covered with collodion, sensitized, exposed and developed within a span 15 minutes. These developed plates are not traditional film negatives, but a one-of-a-kind positives. My shoots in the field require a portable dark-box to develop the plates on site. I’ve been using an antique large format view camera – a Kodak Eastman Empire State—made in 1896.
And finally, support. I mentioned I just launched a Kickstarter campaign. In some ways, I feel a little funny asking for help for work as an “independent artist.” But maybe you will think of it like going to go see your friends’ band play, or going to your friend’s party. Anyhoo, if you can give to the fundraising effort (backers can give as little as $1) I will be forever and eternally grateful. If you can’t give cold hard cash, just reposting a link to Kickstarter on Facebook, or e-mailing it to your friends or mailing list is a hugely significant way you can help me with this project.