12.28.2013 paris polaroids

Image locations, from top to bottom: somewhere near the Societé Française, Paris; the Seine from Pont Neuf, looking North towards the Eiffel Tower; the Louvre; Daguerre's gravesite in Bry; a small portion of Daguerre's last Panorama at Bry; Saint Gervais-Saint Protais Church, Bry, the location of Daguerre's last Panorama; Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera; the Tuileries; inside the clock tower at Museé D'Orsay

Better late than never? I've had some health concerns, which drew my focus the past couple months, but I'm finally ready to share more photos from my Paris/Bry trip. These are a few of the Polaroids, which are soon going to my Polaroid Patrons.

If you were a contributor to my Indiegogo campaign: All postcards were mailed from Paris in October. If you were a Postcard Patron, and you never received it, please let me know, and I will send you an extra.  Photos will be mailed to Polaroid Patrons in the next couple weeks. I'm a presentation fanatic, so I've been holding off until I could do my own work justice. That's now in the works. Drawings, books, etc, will be a bit longer. Video Pals, I promised a video 'thank you' from Paris, and that did not happen. Again, I am a perfectionist, so I did not want to half-ass this. It is also in the works, and you will get your due.

You guys are still the best. Happy New Year.

10.20.2013 france has returned me to you

I'm back! "Did you even leave?" you might ask. I have - perhaps wrongly - assumed that most everyone is following me on Facebook and Instagram these days, but I know there are still the wise few who cherish words and time and thought over blips. I only managed to upload a few pictures on Instagram while I was away. You can view those online by clicking over in the sidebar. Each day was packed, and I spent most evenings recovering.

I am a million emotions all wrapped in one. I never thought the departure day would arrive, and now it has come and gone. I had an amazing time. It's such a rare experience to have full immersion in something so relatively obscure. It's even more amazing to find 80+ people who can get as excited as you over something so relatively obscure. The Daguerreian Society planned an incredible trip. I will get more into the details as I share some of the many pictures I took, but I just wanted to take a minute to thank those of you who contributed once again.

The most amazing thing about this experience is that you made it possible. Each person who took the time, made the effort... each of you made it happen. I am so honored and so proud and like I said, a million emotions all wrapped in one. I thought many times on my trip about how I was only there through your efforts, and that made it an even richer experience.

Those of you who are expecting postcards should have received them or will be receiving them in the next day or two. Polaroids, etc, will be coming in the next couple weeks. The video message I had planned was foiled by pain. I decided instead to make a mini film in your names, which will also be coming shortly.

Perhaps the best outcome of this trip has been that after 4 years of feeling my life has been suddenly limited by what I can't do, you guys have shown me there is still a lot that I can do, and that is even better than a trip to France to look at daguerreotypes. Well, almost.

09.09.2013 you did it: i have a date with daguerre

Three weeks ago I asked for your support to attend the 75th Annual Daguerreian Society Symposium at Daguerre's home in Bry, France, this October.  I set a goal of $3000, the minimum necessary to fund the trip. That number seemed enormous. "Where will I find enough contributors?" I asked myself.  "How will I convince them?" It turns out, all I had to do was ask.

Overwhelmed. Blown away. Verklempt. Agog. Honored. Mind-boggled. These are some of the words I dug up in an attempt to explain what you did. In the first weekend alone, you pledged over half the minimum of the fixed funding goal. It was fully funded after a week and a half. And then, you kept giving. By campaign's end, the total was $4132. I discovered that none of the above words could describe how this made me feel, what this means.

I know the value of money. I know what it means to some people who were only able to make a small contribution - and even so kindly apologized that they couldn't do more. As much as I watched the dollar amount go up, I watched the number of funders increase.  There were 98 contributions from 88 individuals (some were repeat "offenders," who were generous enough to make multiple contributions). I tried to thank every one individually, because every pledge really meant the world to me. If I did not get to you, I promise I will. There were a few people who had problems with the platform, so if you haven't heard from me, there is a possibility your contribution never went through. I apologize for that and would love it if you could report your difficulty to Indiegogo.

The original plan was to list all public funders here on the blog, but I may not do so for a couple reasons. There was some confusion that showed some people as "Anonymous," when they intended to be publicly listed. Because of that, I am afraid of leaving someone off, or worse, listing someone's name who wished to remain anonymous. Due to this blog's Google ranking, listing your name here would in some cases cause this page to come up first on a search of your name. I'm not sure everyone would prefer that.

The final total - after Indiegogo and Paypal's 9.6% commission - will pay for the flight, the hotel, the symposium fee, ground transportation, meals, museum admission, an overseas data package (so I can update you on my trip as well as not get lost), film for two cameras, a French phrasebook and a CF card. There will likely be additional funds left over, which I will use to make a photo-book and maybe even an additional project.

No matter how many attempts I make, I can not fully express my gratitude for what you have done. When I fatefully clicked the button to begin the campaign, I was filled with excitement as well as a fair share of doubt. It is difficult for me to ask for anything. It is actually quite rare (Ok, once when the dog was dying, I asked you for cookies, and I got several packages of them!). I am stubborn and always want to believe I should be self-sufficient. This illness has proven that I can't always be. And this campaign has proven that sometimes it's better not to be. Not only have you made the impossible possible, you guys have shown me that you are behind me and my endeavors. You believe in me. Your 176 arms will be carrying me over the waters for a dream come true.

08.19.2013 my indiegogo: bandini in bry

Self-portrait daguerreotype by Jen Bandini. 2007

Wow.  My life has changed drastically in one week. Last week I discovered that The Daguerreian Society's 75th Annual Symposium is in Bry-sur-Marne, France, where Louis Jacques-Mande Daguerre lived. I nearly keeled over with joy.  Daguerreotypes. Daguerre. His house. His dioramas. His grave. France. It was like some kind of fantasy, and I had no idea how I could make that happen.

Because of the financial difficulties my illness has caused, there is no way I could make such a trip. A friend suggested I set up a crowd-funding campaign, so I did it. I announced it on Facebook Friday afternoon. I figured I would take the weekend to mull over my announcement and see what the response was. And then I was blown away but what happened next.

With the help of some amazing friends who helped promote my campaign, we were able to raise over $1500 as of this morning! That's halfway to my goal! So many donations came in on Saturday evening alone - an avalanche set off by a particular network of incredible people on Facebook - that I was speechless.

I am halfway there, but that means I still have halfway to go! It's an all or nothing campaign, so if we don't reach the goal, nobody pays anything, and I don't get to go. The funds will cover my hotel, plane fare, symposium fee, and the fees charged by Indiegogo and Paypal (about 7%). Anything I receive over my goal will help pay for ground transportation and meals.

I would love it if you could take the time to check out my campaign and make a contribution - no matter how small - or share it on your Facebook page or blog. And of course, it won't cost you a thing to follow my trip on my Facebook page or here on escapetonewyork. Help me take the trip of a lifetime. Thank you so much for your help!

*There's a widget on the right that will track the campaign.  Click to be taken there directly.

07.05.2013 seven years of escape

Yesterday marked seven years of life in New York City, seven years of chronicles here, and seven years of wondering if I should give it up.  When I started writing this - sweet naive little newbie, me - I had some idea of something happening.  That something, of course, was going to be big and flashy as all artists new to the city expect.  But the things that have happened were unexpected, and most of them have been small and slow - not the big explosions of dreams, but the more diminutive crackles of life, reality.

I moved here expecting my life would change - and it has - but the transformation has been more internal than external.  I was thinking of what the city would give to me, not how it would help me become me.  It's true that things took a more challenging turn than I expected, but these misfortunes would have befallen me no matter my address.

And after so many years, the city belonging to me and me to the city, it is terrifying to think of leaving, but I have to confess that I've thought about it.

It happens to nearly everyone who lives here; at some point you start to wonder if it's really worth it - the breakneck pace, the overwhelming cost of living, the underwhelming support for artist communities. The city becomes part your your identity, and it's almost as if you stop distinguishing yourself from it.  This can be good, this can be bad.  For the right person at the right time, there is nowhere in the world that can offer what this city can.  But like a complicated break-up, unentangling yourself from such a place is, well, complicated.

When I read posts about why artists should give up the ship, I find them cynical and sad. No one can live your life for you. No one should be making wholesale judgements about others people's potential for success. You have to take your own chances, make your own mistakes, find out for yourself if the dream you have for your life is possible or not.  It's your choice.  It's my choice.  And though I'm not sure what the best choice for my future is, I'll never regret the past.