for the most intensive project I've ever attempted!
Please view the videos and check out the reward levels.

Join me as I unleash my still and film cameras on Paris. Digging deep into the underbelly and telling its story through my lens.

Who Is Lydia "Sam" Rawlings and why is this project dedicated to her?


You may know me for my rock'n'roll photography and my two books: Starart, featuring the artwork of Joni Mitchell, Ron Wood, John Mayall, Cat Stevens, Klaus Voormann and Commander Cody and Everybody I Shot Is Dead, honoring the many musicians I photographed who have passed away. And my first Kickstarter project, the short film End of the Innocents starring Ryan Caldwell, Christina Bennett Lind, Art La Fleur and Joe Lando.

While those were monumental projects, Come To France With Me! will be the most challenging project I've ever attempted. Why? For one, it's just me - no rock stars or famous actors to lean on, and, I'll only have two or three weeks to create the content for limited edition prints, a book and a short film. Plus the crazy delivery deadline of a couple of months later. The pressure is on and it's driving me to see this project to fruition. 

The idea for Come To France With Me! developed after I was accepted to The Photography Master Retreat in the south of France this coming July. I couldn’t imagine going all the way to France for one short week. That’s when I came up with the idea of building an interactive community to join me on what is sure to be an incredible adventure.

What began as a photographic expedition quickly grew into the promise of a book and a short film. And what makes this project exciting for the backers is that I have no plan... of course, there are ideas circling in my creative brain but I won’t allow myself to preconceive anything. I want to be ‘in the moment’ so the creativity is fresh and authentic.

I’m sure some of you may think I’m crazy and foolhardy, but in my defense, this way of working/playing has served me well in the creative portraiture sessions I have been doing in the past 18 months. It’s also the way I have approached my street photography since I picked up my first professional camera when I was seventeen. Even though this way of shooting is not completely foreign to me, I can honestly say that every day I put my eye to the viewfinder it is completely new, inspiring and exciting experience.

Here are a few samples of what I’ve done in the past.


Cigarette Man

Cigarette Man

Spin Girl

Spin Girl





Patient Belongings

Patient Belongings


Yasmeen Jawhar - Actor

Yasmeen Jawhar - Actor

Taylor Richardson/Actor Kabir Chopra/Actor Lauryn Stallings/Journalist

Taylor Richardson/Actor Kabir Chopra/Actor Lauryn Stallings/Journalist

Tim McDonald - Co-Creator at CreatingIs

Tim McDonald - Co-Creator at CreatingIs

Jennifer Peralta-Ajemian - Casting Director

Jennifer Peralta-Ajemian - Casting Director

Simon Taufique - Composer/Producer

Simon Taufique - Composer/Producer

As a backer and community member of Come To France With Me! you will be on the front lines of this expedition. You will experience my highs, my lows and everything in between. Plus I’m hoping to use apps, such as Periscope, so I can communicate with you in real time, on the fly. Anyone know of a way to do that without eating up all my data in one go? (Ha, there’s my first example of this being an interactive community) 

I’ve always preferred transparency. When you reach out to this project, you are reaching out directly to me. There are no gatekeepers (that’s way too pretentious) or assistants (they cost money). I will answer any questions you may have about the campaign and rewards (you may find some of them complicated). Just click the ‘Contact me’ link at the top of the page, next to my picture.

Wait, a new idea just clicked… 

What about a gallery exhibit of the Come To France With Me! project? Backers of the campaign would definitely be invited to any openings. Maybe, as a community, we can make it a traveling exhibit. Let’s open that conversation when this campaign hits the goal.

About the Rewards:

I worked hard on creating rewards that are interesting, concrete and usable. All the levels will have lasting value. And you will save money. 

For example, my creative portrait session rate is currently $750 and will be increasing this Fall. My limited edition prints currently start at $650 and increase in price as they sell, as will any of the prints not acquired within this campaign.

You can click Creative Portraiture to learn more about how my session work (this is not your usual headshot experience).

Do you have a question about any of the reward levels? Email Me and I’ll get right back to you.

If you are in New York and need photographs I can book you immediately! Email me.

Funding Goals:

My Kickstarter campaign was successful, exceeding my initial goal. So, why am I putting the campaign here when I already have the money I need?

I want the project to be the best I can do. Trying to get it done in three weeks would be rushed. I'm so grateful to all the backers that came through the Kickstarter campaign and I want to give them and anyone else who wants to come on board, my very best work and and an exciting experience as the journey goes on.

I want to add more pages and photographs to the book. I will need more money to make it bigger. I want to immerse myself into the culture of Paris. I want to spend time with the people who live and work there. All kinds of people. I want to explore all the nooks and crannies of the city. I want to record everything.

I am going to double my time in Paris. This will now be six weeks, in addition to the Retreat. I've been checking out accommodation in Paris and found that one month is cheaper than three, and another two weeks will still come under the discounts you get for a month.

I'm continuing the fundraising for people who missed the Kickstarter deadline. Also for people I meet that want to book photoshoots or photography lesson sessions. I will send out an email to my mailing list and people I meet in the coming weeks before I leave for France.

My goal is $2000. 

Credits and Links:
Video music courtesy of Bensound. Thank you!
Video Title Cover Image of Paris by Tyler Jay. Thank you!
Special thanks to Michael Claes for helping me shoot the video and proofreading my campaign content.

Thank you for your interest and support for 'Come To France With Me!'

Please email me if you have any questions or would prefer to pledge through PayPal. All pledges made on this website go directly through Stripe, a secure commerce provider. Chesher Cat Productions does not have access to your credit card information.


Level 1 - $1 and more

Read My Diary! 
You receive my 'personal diary’ emails with written and visual content documenting my thoughts and adventures in France.

Level 1 Pledge

Level 2 - $10 and more

From My Camera to Your Screen!
A digital photograph from a collection of images I shoot in France to use as wallpaper on your electronic devices plus a thank you on my project website.
Plus Level 1.

Level 2 Pledge

Level 3 - $25 and up

Own My French Film!
A digital copy of the short film I will be shooting on location in France with your name in the thank you credits. This film will develop from inspiration and spontaneity, in the spirit of avant-garde and early French cinema.
Plus Level 1 and 2.

Level 3 Pledge

 Level 4 - $50 and up

You Are Going to France!
Mail me an 8x10 photograph of yourself (or someone else) and I’ll take a picture of your photograph in the Paris location of your choice. You will receive the hi-res digital file photograph to do with as you wish (please credit me).
Plus Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Level 4 Pledge

 Level 5 - $100 and up

The Book of France!
A coffee table book filled with my photographs taken in France and my stories. And your name will be printed on the Acknowledgments page.

Plus Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Level 5 Pledge

 Level 6 - $300

Shoot with Me in NY or Paris!
Dust off your camera and enjoy a half-day private photography lesson with me. I will teach you how to create fine art photographs on the streets of New York or Los Angeles. Add a friend for $150.
Plus Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Learn more about how I teach at

Level 6 Pledge

Level 7 - $600

Collect Me!
I will be choosing my best 10 photographs from the images I shoot in France. Each photograph will be limited to five 16 x 20 in. archival prints numbered and signed by me.

You will select your print from the 10 original images in the order of your pledge.

If more than 50 people choose this reward, I will add more awesome photographs that I take in France. Want more prints? Add $550 per each additional print.
Plus Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Level 7 Pledge

 Level 8 - $650 and up

Shoot More With Me!
A full-day private photography workshop with me, plus a four-hour session where you learn how to finish your photographs into fine art. Add a friend for $250.

Choose your location: New York or Paris* 
*Paris dates are limited to July 18-Aug 20, 2016. 
New York dates are flexible, beginning when this campaign closes.
Plus Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Learn more about how I teach at

Level 8 Pledge

 Level 9 - $675 and up

I’ll Photograph You in NEW YORK of PARIS!
Are you an actor, musician and/or businessperson looking for great photographs to market yourself? Or you just want an awesome adventure and stunning photographs of yourself or kids or dogs? Then my Creative Portraiture session is perfect for you or as a gift!

Choose your location: New York or Paris* 
*Paris dates are limited to July 18-Aug 20, 2016. 
New York dates are flexible, beginning when this campaign closes.
Plus Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Learn more about my unique sessions and see more samples at

Level 9 Pledge