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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 12:36 pm | Fair 66º


Publishing Partners Launch Fundraising Campaign for Fiesta Photo Book

Photographer Art Fisher and editor Jim Youngson hope to have copies available for this year's Old Spanish Days celebration

Photographer Art Fisher has been capturing the colorful festivities during Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta for years and is working to self-publish a book of Fiesta photographs in time for this year’s celebrations.

He and Jim Youngson, who edited the 240-page book, are using IndieGoGo.com to fundraise for the $20,000 printing costs and had received $11,715 as of Thursday. The online campaign ends Friday, March 22, and anyone can pre-purchase books for $60 each or donate through PayPal.

Fisher is a graphic designer and in-house photographer for the Santa Barbara Bowl and Arlington Theatre. He has finalized the book’s design, which includes about 650 pictures from the past 11 years, and has a draft copy on display at El Paseo Restaurant. He had to narrow down his collection of more than 50,000 photos of Fiesta.

“We photographers are sort of plagued with this disease to find beautiful things to photograph; Fiesta is one of those beautiful things that takes place in Santa Barbara that is full of so many exciting things worthy of capturing with photography,” he said. “It didn’t really take long for me to end up photographing parades and being up at the Mission for Fiesta Pequena.”

In 2006, with a good collection of photographs and experience with book publishing, he approached Youngson — a friend from college and director for Old Spanish Days — with the idea of a coffee table book.

“He thought it was great and said they actually needed an official Fiesta photographer since the one they had lined up had flaked, so the next thing you know, I was the official photographer for three years,” Fisher said. “I told them the reason I was doing it was because I wanted to do a book; I really wanted credentials so I could go anywhere I wanted.”

It’s not meant to be a “historical retrospective” of Old Spanish Days, which started in 1924, but a contemporary look at the celebrations.

Each chapter opens with text describing a major event or major location, including interviews done by Youngson, and almost every picture has a detailed caption.

The front and back of the Fiesta book. A draft copy is on display at El Paseo Restaurant. (A. Arthur Fisher photo)
The front and back of the Fiesta book. A draft copy is on display at El Paseo Restaurant. (A. Arthur Fisher photo)

“It’s just a slice in time — here’s a decade of Fiesta in Santa Barbara,” Fisher said. “For the first 10 years I lived here, I thought Fiesta was about going down to the bars — just going to the main parade and getting drunk. When I was the official photographer, there were 20 mandatory events for me to cover, and I often shot more like 40 events and it opened my eyes up.”

The IndieGoGo campaign ends next Friday and has been going well. The only problem is that its PayPal-only payment system is difficult for any contributions of more than $500, Fisher said. Larger amounts require users to add a bank account to their PayPal accounts, which takes a few days for the system to confirm. If people come in with big donations near the end of the campaign, Fisher may need to extend it by a few days so the money can be donated.

The books take three months to print and ship, so the money must be raised soon to get them produced in time for this year’s Fiesta in early August.

Old Spanish Days has donated $6,000 and many directors — including this year’s El Presidente Josiah Jenkins and director Maria Cabrera — helped Fisher identify the hundreds of people in his photographs.

The organization will be selling some of the books at this year’s Fiesta, and Fisher has pledged to donate at least 100 books if the venture gets funded.

Fisher hopes to print at least 3,000 books, which would cost $40,000 for production. With the $12,000 he’s putting in, the $20,000 IndieGoGo goal would be enough to produce 2,000 books.

To learn more or donate to the cause, visit Fisher and Youngson’s online fundraising campaign site by clicking here.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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