Larry Towell seems to be the perfect candidate for a kickstarter project. As a highly regarded photographer with a track record of producing excellent work and well crafted books it would be a no-brainer for one of his legions of fans to advance him $250 for signed copies of two of his books or $350 for a limited edition 4.5×5 Mennonite print or $500 for an 8 x 10 from the current Afghanistan project or $1000 for an 11 x 14 plus a copy of the book with your name listed as a sponsor.
But, Larry’s a little off-the-back on cultivating his online audience. Currently and traditionally, the book publishers, galleries and magazines hold all the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails for the people who love his work and want to know when he does something new. The new way of doing business is that you keep those lists and collect those names by setting up a blog, facebook, twitter and email subscription accounts. That way your fans can find out when you’ve got something exciting cooking like this. Larry does have a facebook account (here) with 845 people on it and who knows how many are true fans but following the 1000 true fans rule, he would only need them to each pledge $12 to reach his $12,000 goal.
I think this is the business model for these types of projects because as Larry says “since the traditional venues for funding photojournalism have disappeared, I am appealing to you for help.” And, we only need to look to fellow Magnum photographer Alec Soth who is the gold standard for alerting your audience to your activities with his old blog and new Little Brown Mushroom Blog where books he publishes for sale are quickly sold out.
[I swear this is my last kickstarter post… these things come in 3’s]