Between Still Life and Afterlife

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Kevin Browne  NEW YORK, NY
Between Still Life and Afterlife: Mas, Photography, and the Self is a book of images and essays inspired by the art of Mas in Trinidad and my own fear of blindness since being diagnosed with glaucoma in 2007.

Photographed between 2014 and 2016, the book features Traditional Mas characters--Blue Devils of Paramin, La Diablesse, and Moko Jumbies of San Fernando--and is due to be published later this year or early 2018  by the University Press of Mississippi.

As the book nears the "pre-processing" stage of publication, I'm trying to raise $10,000 to cover the bulk of printing costs. Why so much? As opposed to the low-resolution images in most print books that give very low priority to images, photography books like this one typically use an Offset Printing process to ensure the images are of the highest quality. That difference makes all the difference. 

As a result of budget cuts to national and regional arts-funding organizations, projects like this one have stalled. Many will never see the light of day. I really don't want that to happen, so I've taken it upon myself to raise the money. The book, I believe, is that important. The art of Mas is that important.



In the book, I write:
"We struggle to hold and to keep ourselves together, scrambling with tape and glue, with prayer and desperate pleasure, to mend ourselves. Humbly, miserably, or however we can, we bear the burden of our society’s troubles—all of its wonderful hardships, its warnings and evils, its imperfect lessons. These portrayals of Mas are the literal consequences of our intentions, collected and allowed to congeal (or fall apart) in public space.

Out in the open, where everyone can see. Mas."


Because of the public intimacy of Caribbean culture and my own vulnerability as a writer and photographer, the photographs and accompanying essays are reflections on (and of) the ways people allow themselves to see and be seen--beyond the spectacle of Carnival and the chaos of the season, in spite of the tourist's misinterpreting gaze. In spite of our own misinterpretations.


In many ways, Between Still Life and Afterlife is an homage to a culture on the verge of erasure--of being forgotten. And, though I understand my own fear as a way into the conversation, the book responds to an urgency that surpasses my own: The Caribbean is in a state of deep crisis.

I wrote Between Still Life and Afterlife to show that even now, even in crisis, we are not a cursed people. We are not simply "a catalogue of unnameable traumas."


I've never been good at self-promotion, but I believe in this project. I believe in the people represented in it.

And I believe this book will give you, the reader, a chance to reflect on how you see--how you see yourself. Caribbean or not, you will see yourself in it.

Please note that 100% of every dollar received in this fundraising campaign will go toward the publication of this book. To show my appreciation for your support, I'm offering select prints from each of the series that appear in the book. You can see them on my Website.

From an initial print run of 1,000 books, I'm also offering up to 100 signed copies as gifts for donations of $200 or more. 



In addition to signed limited edition prints and signed copies of the book, I'll also provide access to exclusive events (exhibits, talks about the book, etc.) and will include a list of donors in the book's final Acknowledgments or on the book's promotional Website.

Thanks so much for your interest in my work. Please feel free to share this page, and to follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@drbrowne).



Kevin




Please note:

Books will be delivered after release.
S&H of books and/or prints not included.
Additional images, which are also available for purchase, can be found on my Instagram feed.
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Shereen Ali
20 months ago

Hi. Trying to connect with you - would like to help the fundraising campaign by writing a feature story about you for the T&T Guardian - would you be interested? If so, how can I reach you? I am on FB (Shereen Ali), and played with Touch D Sky last Carnival.

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$1,040 of $10,000 goal

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Stephen Parks
21 months ago

Looking forward to seeing this in print.

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21 months ago
Shereen Ali
20 months ago

Hi. Trying to connect with you - would like to help the fundraising campaign by writing a feature story about you for the T&T Guardian - would you be interested? If so, how can I reach you? I am on FB (Shereen Ali), and played with Touch D Sky last Carnival.

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