ST. LOUIS -- Anyone who took photos during the Ferguson unrest in 2014 can now have their work published in a book, thanks to a new campaign launched on Kickstarter this week.
St. Louis photographer Santiago Bianco, community organizer Jason Gray and TedxGatewayArch founder Steve Sommers came up with the idea for the project, now called "Chronicle Ferguson."
Bianco, 24, was in Ferguson, Missouri, to capture images of the protests after unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in August 2014. He, Gray and Sommers noticed how many people were there to take photos, which gave them the idea for the book, Bianco told The Huffington Post.
The hashtags #Ferguson or #mikebrown, once abundant on social media during the protests, are now fading away, Bianco said. It’s nearly impossible to trace photos that were taken at the beginning of the unrest, he added.
“With social media, they kind of get lost really quickly” Bianco said. “This is a means of preserving them and a more organized and easily digestible way of seeing the images.”
Anyone can submit their photos to the Chronicle Ferguson website to be part of the book. By tagging the date and location of the photos, they can be published in chronological order. Photos that don’t make the cut for the book will be featured on an online database that Bianco said will be “fully filterable."
“You can sort it by location, by date, by who took the image, and also by what camera they used,” he said.
Currently, more than 30 photographers have submitted over 5,000 images for the project.
Bianco and his partners plan to donate a photo book and educational ebook curriculum to all St. Louis-area high schools and libraries. In a video on the Kickstarter site, Bianco says he hopes the photo book will help students understand how and why the Ferguson protests occurred.
“Any school can actually request a book. So other schools around the country can get one, too,” he said.
Although amateur and cell phone pictures are welcome, Bianco hopes to receive more images from professionals.
In just one day, the Kickstarter campaign has already raised over $2,000 to print and distribute the books. The goal is to raise $25,000 within the next 44 days.
“There’s probably $1,300 more [already raised], because at the launch event we gave people the option of donating with Square, and those don’t go through Kickstarter,” Bianco said.
“There’s a lot of stories that only the people who were there know about. So, we hope to gather and hopefully tell a broader story,” he added.
View a video about the "Chronicle Ferguson" Kickstarter campaign above.
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