Apartment Fire Relief

I’m a self-employed photographer and my apartment burned down destroying everything I own. I am asking for a little help in rebuilding my life and business.


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Introduction & Situation

My name is Austin Caine. I am a self-employed freelance photographer in Charlotte, NC. Photography is my life's passion and currently the means by which I support myself. I'm highly active in a wide variety of communities, have made many friends along the way, and genuinely love to help people as much as possible. I make a modest living through my work and can usually just about pay my bills, eat healthy, and maybe go out a few times each month, nothing too extravagant. 

On Sunday September 23rd while very far away from Charlotte in Missoula, MT I awoke to a phone call informing me that my apartment had caught fire and burned down taking with it three other apartments and destroying or damaging pretty much everything I own including most of my photography gear. Unfortunately, I was without renters insurance at this time. 

Utilizing IndieGoGo, I hope to recover some of my losses and continue supporting myself through my trade. I currently have no means of recuperating so many years of built up equipment in such a short amount of time. By donating to this campaign, you will be helping me to rebuild my life in a manner that will allow me to continue with my self-sustained lifestyle. 


CLICK HERE to see more of my photography work!


So what happened?

Luckily I was not in the apartment at the time of the fire but being so far away made me feel quite helpless as I was informed that my entire life had just burned up over 2000 miles away. It feels surreal as though someone just handed me a new life and told me to deal with it. Losing my gear has been the biggest impact. Photography equipment is incredibly expensive and what took me almost 15 years to amass took only 15 minutes to vanish in a puff of smoke. I also lost my iMac computer, numerous hard drives containing irreplaceable data, priceless souvenirs from my travels around the country and the world, plus a plethora of lenses, filters, and antique equipment from decades ago recently gifted to me by my dear mentor who only a week earlier passed away due to lung cancer.


Some of the items lost with estimated cost of replacement:

I've heard "it's only stuff, at least no one was hurt" quite a few times and I agree to a point but they are usually thinking of larger items like furniture, TVs, clothing, major appliances, etc. What most people don't think about are all of the small equiment, hidden costs, and necessary pieces to rebuild. Not to mention the personal side with tucked away memories, photographs, souvenirs, and gifts from loved ones. Those are irreplaceable memories and experiences! This in itself is why photography is such a passion of mine, it allows me to save and share my own life experience. My primary focus of this recovery effort is to rebuild my photography equipment as fast as possible so that I can continue my work and. Here is a basic list of some items I lost and would like to quickly replace or even upgrade if possible, I can't recall everything at the moment but this should at least give an idea.

Camera Bodies and Lenses:

  • ($1000) Nikon D90 Backup Camera Body
  • ($500) Nikon D70s Backup Camera Body
  • ($850) Nikkor 18-200mm VR II 
  • ($400) Nikkor 18-135mm
  • ($200) Nikkor 50mm f1.8
  • ($700) Tokina 11-16mm

Lighting and Grip Equipment:

  • ($1500) 4-light studio strobe set
  • ($800) Umbrellas, softboxes, beauty dish, grids, diffusers
  • ($600) Wireless flash transceivers
  • ($800) 4-light off-camera flash set
  • ($200) Flash brackets and lighting clamps
  • ($350) Ball-head tripod
  • ($150) 5-in-1 reflector with stand
  • Plus lighting gels, lens filters, conversion step rings, lens hoods, brackets, necessary cables, stands and booms, bags and cases, and a lot of other little hidden costs that are hard to really calculate at the moment.

Computer Equipment:

  • ($3500) 27" heavy duty iMac computer
  • ($1000) Backup drives, scanner, printer
  • ($500) USB hubs, firewire splitters, cables, adapters
  • ($450) Large WACOM Intuos tablet
  • ($300) My favorite chair ever :(


Make a Pledge to help today.

Donate today to help me rebuild my photography business and continue with my work so I can get back on my feet and support myself again! Every donation is truly appreciated no matter the amount however if you cannot make a donation, I hope you’ll consider sharing my campaign with your friends to help get the word out. That would be a fantastic way to contribute! :)

Here is a flipbook sample of the prints I'm offering as donation rewards: 

Prints available for perks

CLICK HERE to see all available prints (shown in the gallery)

For a pledge of $50 or more, you will receive one small print of your choice.

For a pledge of $100 or more, you will receive one medium print or two small prints of your choice.

For a pledge of $200 or more, you will receive one large print or two medium prints of your choice.

For a pledge of $400 or more, you will receive a stretched canvas print or two large prints of your choice.

For a pledge of $800 or more, you will receive a 2 hour personal photo shoot by me to be used however you like, or you can opt for two stretched canvas prints.

For a pledge of $1200 or more, I will go all out and give you a full production high fashion studio photoshoot!!

For all pledges, no matter the size, I will be forever thankful and do everything in my power to pay forward the kindness you've shown me!

IMPORTANT NOTE! I will retroactively honor all donations! For all those who have already donated to me before I was able to launch this campaign, please email me if you qualify for and would like one of the perk rewards :)



Since this happened there has been an amazing congregation of my friends, family, and community to give moral support, clothing, furniture, and shelter which has absolutely surprised and moved me and helped me realize how wonderfully generous and helpful people can be in times of crisis. Beyond simply replacing my things, however, I would really like to regain the ability to support myself using photography once again. One friend in particular suggested I start this IndieGoGo to help raise the cash funds necessary to reacquire my gear as quick as possible. Without a doubt this is the most important factor in rebuilding my ability to sustain myself!

You are the most important part of my campaign! Thank YOU!


Team on This Campaign: