Paul, thank you for your time and wishing you the best with your project! (Project link at end of interview)
Here are the 10:
1. What got you interested in designing a deck of playing cards?
As a photographer, I am always looking for new ways to display my work. If you visit any of my gallery shows, you’ll see images printed on glass, aluminum, canvas and wood. The challenge has always been in showing off as many images as possible. With the playing card format, I now have the ability to showcase 52 of my images in a portable, practical way. Pocket sized fine art!
I am also a card collector, so the idea of having my own deck of playing cards was a huge thrill. And the graphic designer in my really enjoyed all the work going into creating a working deck of playing cards! Thrilled to have won Bicycle’s Club 808 Design-a-Deck contest back in May of 2013 with the back design for what would become Foto Grafis.
2. What was your inspiration for this deck?
That’s a tough one because I am inspired by everyone and everything around me. I look at the success of other Kickstarter decks like the Whispering Imps or the Federal 52 series and I am just blown away by the level of artistry and design – of commitment and passion – those projects achieved. I am inspired by innovators like Steve Jobs (Apple) and Edwin Herbert Land (Polaroid) who tried, failed and kept trying and then achieved. As far as Foto Grafis – I drew inspiration from legends like Ansel Adams and Paul Caponigro – who not only took pictures, but created art . . . who made people realize that a photograph could be more than just a picture – but a journey enjoyed by both the photographer and the viewer.
3. Why Kickstarter?
I think Kickstarter is an amazing place for creative professionals and entrepreneurs to explore and thrive. I must admit to a slight addiction to the site from a backer point of view. I’ve backed 39 projects – many card decks, some camera stuff, books and films. There are so many great ideas being created because here’s this wonderful platform that gives creatives the ability to see their vision come to life – and share that vision with the world!
4. Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your deck?
It’s funny, I used to do magic professionally. This is going way back to my late teens/early 20s. My favorite tricks were card tricks, relying more on skill and deception than gimmicks. I enjoyed some success locally, but never went anywhere with it. Now, all these years later, all my magic tricks are for the sole pleasure of my daughter and her friends . . . which make me an ultra-cool Daddy . . . win, win!!
5. What is one thing you wouldn’t do without?
My imagination – It’s a deceptively simple answer. Here’s how I explain it: Picture a room full of children – ask all those kids “how many of you can draw?” I would wager every single hand goes up. Now, same kids – 30 years later as grown adults. Ask the same question and you’ll get maybe one or two of those hands going up. My question is – when did they forget how to draw? I’ve been able to retain that childlike view of the world. Truth is, I can’t draw very well, but that doesn’t stop me . . . My photography tends towards the hyper-real – the extraordinary – and I am able to preconceive that when I am shooting. . . showing what’s there to the naked eye, but giving it that extra depth that you might have missed because your own perception has dulled over time. There – that’s the complicated answer!
6. What’s the best tidbit of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best tidbit comes from a quote I read a number of years ago. It has stayed with me all these years and has come to define my entire body of work. It comes from author, Jonathan Swift and goes: Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. Much of what I shoot are things most people pass by without a second glance – my images provides that second glace and nothing gratifies me more than when someone say’s “ I would never have thought about photographing this.”
7. What advice would you give to other aspiring deck creators/artists?
This is an easy one . . . Don’t let that small voice in the back of your head win – you know, the one that tells you you’re never going to be good enough? Work hard until you can’t hear that voice any more. Looking back on my own career, the more confident I grew in my photography, the more jobs came my way and success was always around the corner.
8. Do you have an online presence where we can view your work?
All my work can be seen at my site: www.paulmichaelkane.com. I have a huge online presence in all the social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. There’s even a Facebook group for Foto Grafis!
Foto Grafis Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/678409555506228/
9. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
This whole Kickstarter campaign has been an amazing learning experience and while we’re about to come to a close on the Foto Grafis campaign, I’ve got more ideas in the works! But first up is the production and fulfillment of the Foto Grafis deck and all the extra goodies. Once I wrap that up, be on the lookout for another project – all I’ll say it’s another deck of cards, but not something you’d expect!
10. And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share three to five images and tell us a little about each.
The Lakota Wolf
I was very fortunate to photograph this amazing Wolf Preserve located on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. It was an early November morning with overcast skies. The light wasn’t very dramatic until the sun broke through and provided me with the rim lighting you see surrounding this amazing creature. This is one of my favorite – and most popular – images.
Eastern State Penitentiary: The Lamp
This image serves as the cover to my very first book – Captured: The Ruins of Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s a prime example of seeing something most would pass right by. Did I realize how amazing the shot would be when I was taking it? No – but I am sure glad I did.
How could I pass up this image as one of my Heart cards. I shot this at a ‘train graveyard’ in Steamtown – Scranton, PA. Love this location to photograph as there’s a photo op at every turn!
The Card Collection
Here’s a look at my personal playing card collection. It’s not nearly as large as I would like – some of the collections I’ve seen online are AMAZING, but it’s a modest group and one that will continue to grow.
Project Video / Link: