One look look at a Michael Stokes' photographs and you’ll understand why his Kickstarter has been such a success. The campaign, which is for Stokes’ art books “Exhibition” and “Always Loyal,” reached its $48,250 goal in an hour and change. Now think about how much you made in an hour at work today.
It’s not unusual for a Kickstarter to be funded quickly, but for one to make $50,000 this quickly is just so very impressive. The campaign, which has only been up for two days, has reached over $134K, well ahead of its $48K goal. And there are still 18 days left on the campaign, so who knows how many books he'll sell.
Stokes’ images (which get potentially NSFW down there) have power. And so do his subjects. One of the two books, “Always Loyal,” features amputee veterans in semi or completely nude photographs that not only show how fit they are, but the sacrifices they made for their country.
Michael wasn’t even looking to make a book featuring wounded veterans. “I photographed a wounded veteran named Richard Rocco, who had no visible injuries -- that was the first veteran that I photographed," he told MTV News. "And from that, I start to get a following from people who follow wounded veterans. ... Then one of my fans suggested Alex Minsky. He wasn't really known."
After Michael posted the results of his shoot with Minsky, they went viral. Since then Minsky has had a lucrative modeling career, appearing in underwear ads and making appearances on “The View,” “Good Morning America” and late night talk shows.
It’s possible the same thing could happen for one these veterans who appear in the book. And, if you’re wondering whether any of the veterans felt self-conscious or anxious, the answer is no.
"Some people will say to me 'Oh, this is really helpful to their self-esteem,' or, 'You're making them feel like men again,'" Stokes said. "And I hear all these types of commentMs and the response I have to that is that these guys have come to me very healed and ready to take the world on. I'm not giving them back their confidence. They already have it.”
Michael Stokes' Kickstarter runs until July 29, 2015.