A daunting challenge

A daunting challenge

Perhaps the greatest challenge to any photography project is not the technical aspects, not the weather, not dealing with unsympathetic TSA agents; it’s the funding.  Book publishers could tell you stories about self-financed photographic projects that ended with divorces, mortgaged or sold homes, lost employment, and all sorts of hardship.  Well, I love Michelle, love the home that we are building together, and really enjoy my day job.  But, I still have a Bristol Bay project that I am working on, and I have to get the fundraising done right now so I can get the fieldwork done this year.  Why the rush?  The project will produce a book that fully addresses the Bristol Bay – Pebble Mine controversy, and, in order for the book to be useful as an advocacy tool, it needs to be published during the public process that will result from the Pebble Partnership filing its mining development permit applications later this year.  So, my publisher, The Mountaineers Books/Braided River, and I have agreed that the best time for releasing the book is the fall of 2013.

That means that pretty much all of the fieldwork must be done by early October of this year.  In addition, during that time, selected authors will be writing many of the essays and working with the publisher’s development editor to complete those pieces at around the same time.  Then, next winter and summer I will be working with the publisher on completing the layout.

So far, fundraising has not gone so well.  My first trip out to Naknek last summer in connection with the project was funded through the sale of a lens.  I have been reaching out to organizations to assist with funding since June of last year, and so far I have received rejections from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Bob Gillam, and the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.  I am still waiting to hear from two other organizations regarding funding proposals.

And while I wait for these organizations to decide what they are going to do, my project moves ahead.  I have aerial photography scheduled for mid-February, a trip out to Bristol Bay in early March, and a trip to Seattle in mid-April.  I am also doing what I can to raise funds on my own.  I held a fundraiser at my house in December to fund winter fieldwork, and set up a fundraising site on USA Projects for my winter fieldwork.  The USA Projects page has a video explaining the project and provides the opportunity for individuals to make tax deductible donations directly to the project.

And while the fundraising has gone slowly so far, I have tremendous partners working with me on messaging and providing me valuable resources such as material support and connections to people in the area; partners such as Ground Truth Trekking, Trout Unlimited, and the Alaska Wilderness League.  I also have a media sponsor, BuzzBizz Studios, that is making in-kind donations of videography, video editing and web design services.  And who knows, I may even get some material support from the Pebble Partnership directly; at least, it seems possible after a productive meeting with PR staff from Pebble and Anglo American back in December (I am still waiting to hear from them as well).

To read up on and follow the project, visit my Projects page on my website, where you will find links to my Bristol Bay gallery, dedicated Facebook page for the project, and blog entries.  To obtain a copy of my 5-page project proposal, including budget, contact me.

And if I was not clear enough, I could really use your financial support of this project.  The deadline for my winter fundraising effort on the USA Projects page is March 1, 2012.  And not only are the donations tax deductible, there are some really great perks associated with different levels of donation.  And please, spread the word about this project!

One Response to “A daunting challenge”

  1. Susan Gainen Says:

    I donated a bit and posted this to Facebook. Thank you for doing this important work, and good luck!

Leave a Reply