BOSTON – "If you had one story to share with the world, what would you say?" Members of Suffolk Athletics came together Sunday morning to answer the premise behind the powerful Dear World storytelling portrait project.
Created by Robert Fogarty in New Orleans in 2009, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Dear World began as a "love letter" to that city. Since, the interactive, award-winning project has visited college campus around the world, from Oxford to Oregon and Paris to Princeton to explore the subtle and powerful connections between students, faculty and staff. Fogarty has written on everyone from Drew Brees to Boston Marathon victims and taken their photographers afterward.
The concept is simple: People write words and phrases on their bodies that mean something to them. Then, they share they stores behind the words.
The Dear World team workshopped the Suffolk student-athletes with past portraits and explained the incredible stories behind them, such as that of the late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who participated in the project prior to his death and used the portrait for his now New York Time's Bestseller Everyday I Fight: Making a Difference Kicking Cancer's Ass, as well as Scott's daughters, Taelor and Sydni, who filmed a tribute to their father through Dear World on the one-year anniversary of his death.
The Rams were asked to think about their own experiences and what message they may send to people they care. Whatever their message happens to be – the story must have a personal connection about it.
Each of the students then chose a word or phrase to write on themselves with dry-erase, black ink. One by one, athletes walked into the Sawyer Third Floor Lounge and were photographed. While waiting to have their portraits taken, the Rams discussed their stories behind the words written on their skin with one another.
The aim is for people to realize that there's more that brings us together than what keeps us apart.
Sunday's session with Suffolk Athletics was the first in a three-day tour for Dear World at the University. Dear World will be set up tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 18 in Sawyer's Third Floor Lounge from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. for Suffolk's entire community – students, faculty and staff – to capture their story.
Then on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Tremont Temple, the Dear World Live Show will feature and celebrate the stories and voices from around the world and Suffolk's own campus as students who participated in Sunday's select shoot and Monday's open call to share their stories behind their powerful portraits. The Live Show begins at 12:15 p.m. and members of Suffolk's community will have one last shot to share their stories through portraits following the event.
For more information on Dear World visit dearworld.me.