Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.
Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits of people who live and work in Ypsilanti.
She’s photographed everyone from Mayor Paul Schreiber to local artists to Eastern Michigan University students to people just hanging out in Depot Town. Her project has amassed more than 120 photos for the gallery exhibit she plans to hold at the end of May.
But she needs a little help. In order to make the exhibit a reality, she has to raise $2,400 towards the cost of printing the photos and renting the exhibit space.
So far, people have pledged $1,758 to The Ypsi Project through the Web site, Kickstarter. Unfortunately, if Hampton doesn’t reach the $2,400 fundraising goal by Friday evening, she won’t receive any of the pledged money. The entire amount needs to be pledged to the project by this Friday, April 23 at 7:14 p.m.
“The way Kickstarter works, if you don’t have every penny pledged, then you don’t get any of it,” she said.
The Ypsi Project started in January 2009, when Hampton completed school. She graduated from EMU with a minor in fine art and a concentration in photography, and was looking for full time work.
She started out by taking a photo everyday, and not just portraits.
“I wanted something to keep myself busy. I was looking for work and everything, and I didn’t want to stop taking pictures,” Hampton said.
As time went on, the project narrowed to just portraits. She learned that she loved finding out about people and what brought them to the community.
“Doing this project, I’ve met so many cool people and just really seen how amazing everybody here is,” she said. “There’s a lot going on here, more than you think. There are all kinds of people.”
With every portrait, Hampton writes a little bit about the individual to accompany the photo.
“I try to find out how they came to Ypsi, why they stayed, why they’re here and what they like about Ypsi,” she said. “Everybody from all walks of life has been so nice. It’s been really eye-opening, and I just wanted to share that.”
Hampton also plans to publish a book of all her local photos. The book will be available when the exhibit opens.
Hampton aims to hold the exhibit at 216 West Michigan Ave., in the former VG Kids storefront.
If you’d like to make a pledge to The Ypsi Project, visit the Web site at www.YpsiProject.com. Pledges can be as little as $1.