Antony Kitchener is no stranger to unique photography subjects. He has documented everything from the struggle of the homeless and marginalised at Wellington’s Compassion Centre Soup Kitchen, to the Clown Doctors at the Wellington Children’s Hospital – a project that won him a spot in the finals of the 2014 New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year competition. We even discovered he’s photographed our very own Chief People Wrangler Tash in the past! (pictured below).
But now, Antony’s taking on a different project altogether. For the past three years, he has been working on a series of subtle, stylised portraits of Wellington’s BDSM community. While initially uncertain of how he would find this project, he describes himself as “blown away” by the openness and trust of the people he photographed. Antony discovered that BDSM was about much more than just kinky sex – it was about identity, acceptance, and above all, community.
And yet the broader Wellington community was far less accepting. After no luck finding a place to exhibit his pictures in his hometown, Antony began looking further afield. He was delighted to receive an offer from Melbourne’s Brunswick Street Gallery to exhibit the works – but he needs funds to rent the space and set up the exhibition. That’s where you come in.
Antony is trying to raise $2,500 to cover the cost of the exhibition – and with his rewards offering everything from darkroom prints to a full photoshoot with an old-school camera, it’s no wonder he’s already well on his way. We wanted to hear more about the man behind the camera, so we got in touch to find out why you should be pledging to Antony’s campaign.
How are you finding the campaign so far?
The campaign has been going great so far. Better than I expected. This is really a first test for me to see if I can get photography projects funded, so it’s proving rather useful. I think the key thing for me is learning how to pitch a project idea, and finding what the best medium is for spreading word of the campaign. So far I’ve been using my personal networks, and sending email updates about the campaign. I’m not a particularly big user of social media but I can really see how engaging with social media on a regular basis would be beneficial for these types of projects.
What have you got planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?
I’m hoping to have a small article in the Gay Express, which is New Zealand’s magazine dedicated to the LGBT community. I’ll be continuing to hustle my networks via email and Facebook, especially in the last week of the campaign and until the very end.
Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported this project so far. Obviously its a tricky subject to engage with, but the exhibition would certainly not go ahead with the generosity and support of my crowd. Its great that crowd funding platforms like PledgeMe exist to enable creatives and entrepreneurs alike to see their projects come to fruition.