A few weeks ago, I traveled to New Orleans with Rob on a work trip. Hands down the best part of the trip (aside from catching up with friends, of course!) was the experience that we had learning about Dear World.
Our first night there, we walked in to a welcome party to discover a photographer set up with all his equipment, ready to take our pictures. At first, I was ready to walk right on by but fortunately, we stopped to hear what Robert Fogerty had to say.
Robert describes Dear World in this way”
“I started this project in 2009, when people across New Orleans wrote their “love notes to the city.”
We learned that you can never lose your voice and over the past three years, I’ve looked into the eyes of thousands. They’ve shared the hopes and fears, their losses and joy with me regardless of their religion, race or language.
I ask people to share one meaningful message with family, friends and strangers.”
Rob and I struggled with what to say as suddenly it felt really important. I got on my iPhone and began searching for all of my favorite quotes. As I read, I realized that they each had the same message. Be Present. So we decided to be just that simple and took the picture above.
On the last day of the conference, we were able to attend a presentation highlighting all of the work that Dear World has done over the past five years. Since 2009, Robert has traveled around the world photographing people who have things to say.
He has been to the Zaatari refugee camp where he photographed hundreds of Syrian children, one of whose messages read, “I want the life I had to come back.”
He has been to Breezy Point after Hurricane Sandy. There he photographed messages like the following, “The reason why we fail is so we can get up again.”
He has been to 2014 Boston Marathon where he photographed Celeste Cochran, a double amputee following the bombings who ran the last 100 yards of this year’s marathon with the message, “Still standing. Still beautiful.”
What an amazing man and what an amazing project. Please take the time to click through to the Dear World website. You can’t help but be inspired.