Crunch Time

I had been watching events unfold in the BP oil spill disaster for a few weeks, wondering when the problem might be fixed.  The more things drug along and the larger the impact grew, I began to feel a pull in my gut, a pull that had led me to Iraq, and to photograph on the border in Arizona.  Getting myself and my gear to the Gulf Coast, and having the resources to stay on site for a couple of weeks were problems.  It took a few days of contemplation about the possible avenues to fund a wet plate collodion expedition to southern Louisiana (which just happens to be the land of my birth) but I came to a solution.  I settled on Kickstarter which I wrote about in my last post.  Just over 24 hours after going live, the initial project startup goal is 39% funded at $785.00, which is spread between 19 supporters.  Pretty damn good for a holiday weekend for sure.  I cannot thank those 19 people enough for believing in me.

Before going live with the project, and working up the nerve to ask for help, I was pretty nervous about how the fund raising would go.  Visions of the nine days that I have to seek the funding passing with ZERO backers flashed in my head.  The drive to go to the Gulf Coast was strong enough to work past that and launch the project.  Soon friends began to repost the project link on their Facebook pages and the first donations were posted.  Soon a nice energy built up on Facebook and by midnight the total was close to $400, a long way from the minimum $2000 needed, but it was $400 that I did not have before.  Memorial Day morning found a few larger donations coming in surrounded by a flurry of smaller ones, all combining to give me great confidence that I would be leaving for New Orleans in about 9 days.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I have been doing some planning and accumulating of information.  Locating areas that I want to go to first, listing beaches with their current conditions, marinas, and contacting the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center were all things I spent the early part of my holiday working on.  Then, just as quick as the positive feelings about the success of the funding drive came, a cloud seemed to be building in my mind.  I thought that maybe the initial success would be all of the backing that will arrive as those who believe in me most lined up first, leaving a silence behind them.  Fear is what I feel when I think about not meeting the funding goal because I don’t think that I have wanted to do something so bad for a very long time, and the fact is, I must depend on others to allow it happen.  I am not used to depending on others for much, but I feel like I am building a team, and working as a team makes me excited.

As I plan, pack my things, ready chemicals and hardware, and line up contacts in Louisiana, I cant help but feel excited and vulnerable at the same time.  There is a very real chance that all of this preparation will be for nothing, but I could also be making art with the backing of many people who believe in what I do.  That second choice is what I am trying to stay focused on.

Please pass the word about this project.  About seven days are all that remain to meet the minimum funding needed to get this expedition rolling.


~ by Phil Nesmith on May 31, 2010.

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