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Kintsugi: Forged in Fire

Kintsugi: Forged in Fire is a documentary project that tells the story of five families who lost their homes in the Northern California wildfires of 2017. Our goal is to preserve this unique piece of history in a beautiful way that encourages others who may find themselves in similar circumstances while supporting relief and rebuilding efforts. 

 
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Kintsugi: Forged in Fire is a documentary project that tells the story of five families who lost their homes in the Northern California wildfires of 2017.
Our goal is to preserve this unique piece of history in a beautiful way that encourages others who may find themselves in similar circumstances while supporting relief and rebuilding efforts. 

Where it all began…

On Sunday, October 8, 2017, during severe red-flag warning conditions, a series of wildfires broke out across Sonoma and Napa counties, ultimately burning over 160,000 acres, claiming 31 lives, and destroying over 7,800 structures before being fully extinguished on October 31st.

It was a devastating blow to our community.

 
 
 
 
 

As the dust settled, and the acute needs were less pronounced, I began photographing friends, and friends of friends in the fire zone where their homes used to be with the hope that it would give them a place to start the rebuilding process.

And so I went and met each family, photographing them on black and white film only, with the intention of coming back a year later to photograph them all again, this time in color, as a tribute to how far they’ve come. At the time, my intention for the work was to keep it entirely private, but after seeing the body of work and being encouraged to share these stories, I knew they had to be told.

 
 

When I look at these portraits and talk with each family as they move forward, I am reminded so clearly of Kintsugi, a Japanese art from where broken ceramics are mended by gold. The belief is that the object is more beautiful for having been broken. Stronger too. And that the cracks are a tribute to it’s history. 

This project is my way of attempting to put gold in the cracks of our community and to honor these families and their unwavering resolve to mend their lives. 

I have been trusted by every person I photographed, to be the keeper of their stories. As that keeper, and as someone who hopes to preserve this unique piece of history in a beautiful way, I am asking you for your help in keeping them alive. So that we can all remember, who we are, why we’re here, and that we are all stronger in our broken places. 

Our goal is to raise $30,000 by the first anniversary of the fires, on October 8th, 2018, which will make it possible to film a digital short during the one year anniversary photoshoots that will then be used to promote and raise additional funds needed to produce a full-length feature documentary and action campaign aimed to help first responders, relief, and rebuilding efforts.

Thank you for your support and for being the gold in the mending of our community.