TIME Man on the Wire

Krisanne Johnson’s Kickstarter: From the Series Photojournalism at the Crossroads

Krisanne Johnson looked to Kickstarter, an online funding platform, to raise the money that enabled her to return to Swaziland to complete her long-term project on HIV/AIDS

Photojournalism at the Crossroads is a series from Lightbox that takes a closer look at how photographers are creatively revisiting traditional ways of image making or using the latest digital technology to revitalize the genre and reach a wider audience.

Krisanne Johnson looked to Kickstarter, an online funding platform, to successfully raise the money that enabled her to return to Swaziland to complete her long-term project on HIV/AIDS. “For the past four years,” Johnson explains, “I have been documenting young women coming of age amidst the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Swaziland. A tiny African kingdom of 1 million, Swaziland reports the highest percentage of HIV-positive people in the world, with the hardest hit being young women. For every two young Swazi women, one is HIV-positive. It should come as no surprise that average life expectancy has dropped from 61 years to almost 31 years over the past decade.”

“In 2010 I received support from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund for a trip back to Swaziland plus additional support and encouragement to promote the project on Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects, to raise additional funds. My project was successfully funded, and the experience proved invaluable.”

“[Kickstarter] opened my eyes to the power of independent online fundraising and to the awareness and outreach the project link generated through various social-networking sites. The Kickstarter community has renewed my energy to continue the work and to share the stories of this new generation of Swazi teenagers confronting the unfamiliar challenges of the epidemic.”

For more from the series Photojournalism at the Crossroads

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