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Kickstarter Photography Project: Happy Valley by Brian Shumway
First, let me say that I have mixed feelings about Kickstarter photography projects. To me, and this is just my opinion, some of these projects seem to have extremely high expectations. Raising over $10,000 for a project about your neighborhood just seems a little overboard. Others showcase photography that is, not to be snotty, but substandard. I believe that taking up photography can enhance everyone's life, but at the same time, not everyone's photography should garner thousands of dollars from strangers.
That being said, Kickstarter is a great place to get things funded, and a fair number of the projects on the site are worth a donation. One of these is a proposed project by Brian Shumway documenting his family's life in a Mormon community in Utah.
This project passes my test for a good Kickstarter proposal for several reasons. First, Shumway is asking for $3,500 USD. This is to cover the costs of photo processing and a couple flights to and from his home in New York to his family's home. The second reason is that his photographs are wonderful.
Documenting your own family in a thoughtful and honest way is not easy. In fact, for most, it's probably impossible. Shumway has his own style and unique vision. His photos are sometimes stark, sometimes quirky. His compositions rely on line and weight, but the story they tell is very human.
The project promoted on Shumway's website.
The other intriguing aspect of this project is how it might relate to the upcoming presidential election. As Shumway mentions, Mormonism is not well understood. U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is Mormon, and there's no doubt that people will want to know more about the religion
As of the writing of this article, $220 has been pledged to the Happy Valley project. Fortunately, there are 41 days left to pledge. Pledges will get you prints from the project. Learn more here.