'Dear World ...' What would you say?

'Dear World ...' What would you say? »Play Video
Dear World Phototshoot at University of Oregon. Alyssa Stade, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - If you could write one message to the world, what would it be?

On Thursday, May 2, students at the University of Oregon anxiously lined up to be photographed by Dear World founder Robert Fogarty as he digitally captured the stories told on their skin.

Dear world is a portrait project that asks individuals to share one message about something or someone they care about. Dear World does not use your traditional platform for storytelling. These stories are written on the skin, and photographed for the world to see.

The project originated in New Orleans when Robert asked people to write a love note to their city.

“It started the year the Saints won the Super Bowl,” said Robert.

New Orleans is a very joyful city that has been through some hardship, and I just thought look we needed to start to take a pulse from the city and find out why people love it,” he said.  

In the messages, people began writing things that were personal - and not just about New Orleans.

The messages were symbols of love, strength, and passion. Their stories branched beyond the city of New Orleans, and could be told by people all over the world.

Robert and a friend pitched the idea of Dear World, and before he knew it he was the keynote speaker at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference.

Today, Dear World gives all individuals, regardless of race, language, or religion, a unique platform to express themselves.

“It isn’t as permanent as a tattoo, but in that moment in time, and being captured digitally, it does have some staining power,” said Robert.