Self photo of Saanich's Dion Manastyrski

Saanich photographer brings dream to reality with crowdfunding

Dion Manastyrski raises $40,000 through Indiegogo.com for barn photography book, Prairie Sunset: A Story of Change

Photographer Dion Manastyrski has some advice for anyone considering using crowdfunding for a project.

Firstly, be well prepared to expand beyond the supportive reach of your friends and family, he says, because it’s tough going once you reach out to the general public.

“I’ve read warnings about how it’s not easy, it’s definitely difficult if you want to do anything more than a small amount,” Manastyrski says.

Manastyrski, who lives near Uptown in Saanich, is now launching the print production of his first book, a hardcover photo essay called Prairie Sunset: A Story of Change, thanks to a successful $41,000 crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo.com. The proceeds exceeded his original goal by about 10 per cent.

“One thing I learned is that anyone attempting crowdfunding absolutely has to have a good presentation of their project, and some appeal. And you have to let people know a little bit about you,” he added.

It took 10 years for Manastyrski to accumulate the photos and interviews for his book, which focuses on abandoned homes, barns and schoolhouses dating back 100 years in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Manastyrski grew up in Saskatchewan but moved locally for the University of Victoria and stayed as a forest biology researcher with Natural Resources Canada at the Pacific Forestry Centre.

Taking photos was part of his work which developed into a hobby. His annual visits with family in Saskatchewan doubled as photography trips, and he sometimes spent days seeking the right light to capture an old barn.  Now retired, he’s focused on filling the book’s pre-orders, which should be out by January, if not earlier. Manastyrski chose to “independently publish” the book through Friesens Book Division in Manitoba.

“It costs a lot to print in Canada but I really wanted to, and it’s a high-quality printer, which I really wanted.”

The quality of the production means it will be at least $50 for the book and more than $70 to cover shipping.

Those who pre-ordered the book with shipping earned a discount, a common trend with crowd funding.

“I sold the shipped books at $65 which is at least eight to 10 dollars less,” Manastyrski said.

(Photo below: Dion Manastyrski)

He finished compiling the book’s material with a four-month road trip this summer, his eighth and final road trip throughout Saskatachewan and Manitoba over the last 10 years. He also interviewed 70 people in total including retired farmers, former teachers of one-room schools and other longstanding community members to bring background context to the photos.

“The words of the people it tells a story of the past Prairie life. Even though I grew up on a farm and knew about life there, I was still surprised to learn what it was like there before electricity, they grew their own food and preserved it, they lived without refrigeration and heated their     homes,” Manastyrski said.

As the reader delves deep into the Prairie Sunset, the book becomes a story of self efficiency, Manastyrski said.

“The community among the people was strong, they worked together a lot, and helped each other out, the further back you go the more obvious it was there was hardships. It was extremely difficult when they started out, they had a chunk of land and a box of tools.”

See the a preview of the book at prairiesunset.ca.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Middle school students busted for vaping in Oak Bay

Oak Bay Police respond to minors vaping, arson, and transients sleeping in a car

Peninsula Panthers look to claw their way back into the win column

Panthers remain the best team in the league, but the Victoria Cougars are set to pounce

Last call for raffle ticket to win $6,900 necklace with 163 diamonds

Oak Bay contest funds patient care for people and families dealing with cancer

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

Working with offenders: a look at Correctional Service Canada

CSC is one of many vendors featured at the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Most Read