Greetings! My name is Alyscia Cunningham and I am a photographer and author based in Silver Spring, MD (that's right outside of Washington, DC).
For close to a year I have been working on a Social-Change Photography project titled I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me. Through my project I am creating awareness and promoting the beauty of bald girls and women who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or autoimmune disorders. I also captured portraits of women who cut their hair in support of a loved one.
On October 24, 2013, I cut and donated my then sixteen years of locs, for a Big Chop to Stop Cancer event. To be honest, I've wanted to cut my hair for a few years prior to this day. Despite the constant headaches and head colds after going swimming (the thickness of my hair makes the drying time lengthy) I continued to hold onto to it. I had to remind myself… I AM NOT MY HAIR.
Before doing the Big Chop, I blogged about my forthcoming endeavor. Some of the feedback I received wasn't very encouraging. After all, people always knew me with long hair and thought the "look"might not be a good fit. I'll be honest and say I did question myself, going back and forth in the mirror, covering the front of my hair to visualize what I would look like.
For the first time, I experienced some serious fear and doubt about myself. Whispering quietly within, "I wonder how I'll look without my hair? " Very similar to the feelings of the women in my first book, Feminine Transitions, who had a difficult time being photographed without make-up. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is not as easy as I thought.
Although it's a different situation, the idea is similar and I connected with the emotions these women experienced. Regardless, I decided that no one else, including myself, was going to change my mind and I happily shaved anyway. Strangely enough (it must be Divine order) I kept bumping into women who lost their hair and couldn't imagine the feelings that come with involuntarily losing hair and the assumptions that people make before getting to know you.
In reflection, my experience with cutting my hair combined with my self-doubt about my "look" after cutting my hair as well as my personal struggle with beautyas a child,I Am More Than My Hairwas born. My experiences helped me to discover this path. And my journey continues...
Your contribution will go directly to producing 1,000 books (hardcover four-color) of I Am More Than My Hair, 500 DVD's, all cost associated the creation of it, marketing and simple travel cost to and from the photo/video shoots. The persons that I will hire for professional and creative services has already been selected.
Although my campaign goal is $15,000 the total budget is $25,228. The beauty about YouCaring.com is I am able to adjust my goal amount. As I get closer to my goal I can increase as necessary so that I am able to keep that amount. Either way, the closer I get to reaching my budget, the more funds I will have to spend on my project. All cost are explained below:
- Printing 1,000 copies = $10,520
- Fee for the book designer = $1,500
- Fee for the designer to create the layout = $800
- Book Editor ($60/hr x 6.4 hours) = $400
- Video Editor (60 min documentary) = $1,200
- DVD duplication and printing (500) = $878
- Travel to and from photo shoots (from now until April 2015) = $450
- Professional publicist = $5,000 (includes 4 months of assistance with a book tour, speaking engagements and marketing materials)
- Marketing for two months prior to the release and four months after = $4,000
- Credit card fee (2.9% + $0.30) = $450-$575