If someone had mentioned crowd-funding to me 20 years ago, I would had thought, in the best of cases, of a building society set by a penniless mob or, in the worst case, of a brand of whole-grain cereals of unknown origin.
Perhaps it's just me, but I feel that I belong to a generation that has not a clear position in a definite time frame; I was born during a time when customs and traditions of the past were in the process of crumbling, and were not part any-more to the culture of the younger generations; at the same time those technological innovations that would shake social habits were just going to timidly appear. I felt trapped between past and future.
For instance, when I was a teenager, with no Internet, Social Networking Media and mobile phones, I used to loaf about in the streets with friends and the passer by could have mistaken us for the teen-age gang of 'West Side Story', even if we were no dancers and by far less aggressive and dangerous. Could you envisage the gang of 'The Outsiders' drawing out or a pocket a mobile phone? I don't think so, well, outside a film about time-travelling. That's the reason why we were speechless and fascinated, as much as a hunting party of natives in a Subtropical Rainforest seeing a plane for the first time, when one member of our group of friends, the richest of us poor sods, pulled out from his pocket the first specimen of Sony Walk-man. A stereo cassette player: a little wonder that we could not believe it would be ever surpassed by anything smaller and more technologically advanced. We were in 1980.
During the following 36 years, I had to take one's lump (when I had the bad taste to kid myself about the facts of life) and I had to discover little by little that one has not only to work hard to get fat 'someone else' that he doesn't know and that gets his hard-earned cash to live the life of Riley, but also to understand (because of my monumental idiocy) that if one is self-reliant of his capability, talent and competence and thinks to be worth in the eyes of those in the position of affecting his career judging on the basis of his skills, one deserves to take one's massive lump of the dimensions of a bollard.
I have been observing for long time those that were speeding up, overtaking on the fast track, equipped only with their sloppiness and mediocrity. I fancied myself driving a Ferrari, but even a rusted lawn-mower could overtake me.
Then, Internet arrived, together with the Open Source movement, Creative Commons and File Sharing; for the first time it was possible to cut off intermediaries, those boors occupying a seat and bearing down decisional power with arrogance and total stupidity just because they can, supported by the psychotic System in which we are living.
A few years ago, when I started to toy with an editorial project based on a work of street photography containing also short stories, my creative mind was still clinging to the past, to those times when one's could hope that a Publishing House editor with his competence and passion toward his job was able to appreciate the potentiality of a project, measuring it by its cultural value, its originality and beauty, and not just and only appreciating the level of notoriety of the people involved.
Alas, the modern times had to be faced. There are very many brilliant minded people with very nice ideas, but only those who are already famous, possibly TV celebrities, are presently allowed to publish, because they're not representing an even minimal risk for the Publishing House.
The road to find a publisher supporting my project was not just uphill but more like a sheer fall. Nevertheless, I got more and more enthusiastic for my research that I started as a pastime. I knew that the city where I was born had been pictured high and low, far and wide, and made famous by many photographers, so I asked to myself if it was still possible to take good and original pictures of Venice without running into the stereotype.
Little by little, while I passed my time finding 'intriguing' shots, I gradually cared less about finding a publisher. I don't now exactly how it happened, but I suddenly found myself to ponder about these ancient walls, that are always the same but by no means eternal. It hit me that Venice is not going to be as it is now forever. A picture of San Marco's Square appears identical to another taken in 1920, and yet everything is in the process of vanishing and disappearing: people, crafts, life, even gestures and words that the individuals exchange in the streets.
Suddenly I had clear what I had to do. My pictures had to capture the essence of the city, before it disappears altogether. I had to strive to show what is Venice in the eyes of his inhabitants, before it is sold like a cheap Disneyland. The architecture and the visual marvel that the city represents were not what my lens had to capture. Trough street photography I was inadvertently capturing fragments of the past in the present, what still remains, I can't say for how long, of the essence of this place and the essence of its, by now not many, inhabitants.
Just then, at the moment when everything was clear in my mind, I looked again for a publisher. I had many doors slammed on my face before I could fully consider the nature of this work between past and future, and occurred to me: ' I live in what I used to consider the future, so now there are other alleys to be walked'.
Crowd-funding didn't sound to me like a brand of whole-grain cereals any-more, but instead an opportunity - in a world in which the mediocre and their command posts still live in the past for their own gain, without knowing that very soon they are going to be jettisoned to a dip, together with their fine leather office recliners, asking themselves what the heck had happened to the world.
Obviously, I do not know if my project is going to be successful. The road is uphill and rather steep, but it's a sporty challenge, anyway, something you can believe in without dealing with imbeciles on the way. If it doesn't work, oh well, one can try again. It's like being in the streets again, with my bunch of friends and new and exciting challenges to face. Also – I nearly have forgotten to mention – in the meantime I have rounded up a new gang, weird characters that you won't catch immersed in their FaceBook on their tablets while walking on the street, but that you find inhabiting the World Wide Web, ready to give a helping hand. That it's quite a difference, and not a subtle one, and I have to thank them too if this campaign is on its way now. Prosperous crowd-funding to everyone!
HERE you can visit my campaign page: https://goo.gl/TVMYV4
My sincere gratitude to those that will help me sharing this project.