Feature Friday: Dear World

May 27, 2011

Welcome to a new dealio here on AnnieSorensen.com – Feature Friday. I suggested creating a platform where we could more formally feature cool kids doing cool stuff, you heartily responded, so here we are.

Every week, Feature Friday will highlight something…cool. It might be a person, it might be a business. It could be a new product, a new site, a new book, a new idea.

There are so many amazing people and stories out there that deserve more attention. Attention from all of you, my five, lovely readers.

This week’s feature is for you if:
– you love photography and design
– you are a photographer or a designer
– you love getting involved in original, meaningful causes
– you like to smile


Dear World
Feature Friday, vol. 1

I was introduced to Dear World a few weeks ago while attending the Big Omaha conference. It’s the coolest definition of originality. But it’s also strikingly simple. And fun. And meaningful.

From Dear World’s website, here is what they are about:

Dear World began as a for profit/social good venture called Dear New Orleans, where current New Orleans resident Robert X. Fogarty began photographing residents “love notes to the City.” From a New Orleans resident who wrote “Rest in Peace Katrina” on the fifth anniversary of the storm to Superbowl winning quarterback Drew Brees (1…2, Win for You), Dear New Orleans has captured the spirit of a joyful, strong city, where residents know what it’s like to nearly lose something they love.

In early 2010, while shooting under the Dear New Orleans brand, Fogarty photographed two series: Dear Haiti and Love Notes to the Coast (BP Oil Spill) that received international response. Dear World’s work is now seen over 1.5 million times per month online and the collection includes Academy award winning actress Susan Sarandon, NBA All Star Chris Paul, NFL Owner Tom Benson, and political commentator James Carville.

Officially launched in March 2011, Dear World is building a high value social venture where photographers and designers around the world photograph and document “messages to the world” in the same accessible portrait style.

Dear World :: Omaha is Dear World’s first BETA city and the organization hopes to have five Dear World cities operational by the end of calendar year 2011.

Be Bold. Be Brave. Write Our Future.

Basically, Dear World is a photography project that encourages people everywhere to share a message to make the world a better place. What makes Dear World unique, though, is how those messages are shared.

They are written in black marker on the subject’s body. Then photographed.

No Fear
Livin the Dream
I'm Going to College
Cancer Free
Go Saints
Strangers are Friends in Disguise (All photos from DearWorld on Facebook)

Cool, eh?

I love this. It’s personal. It’s fun. And it encourages the message to be short and concise. That makes it more powerful, don’t you think?

I mentioned that I was introduced to Dear World in Omaha few weeks ago. That’s because, Dear World? They’re expanding!

Their goal is to have Dear World receive 1.5 billion views per month. Yup. Billion. So, they’re looking for more and more photographers and designers to join their cause, city by city, event by event.

Dear World’s Dear New Orleans was their first venture. My Hawkeye friend, Andy Stoll, co-founded Dear Omaha, to join the Dear World cause from one of his favorite cities.

And then when I was in that city of his the other week, he roped me into doing this:

Smile! (It won't kill you)

It was silly. And really, really cool.

(Holy forehead vein, Annie. Good gracious.)

(Also, note the presence of my beloved black blazer. I mean, honestly, does it ever not travel with me? Nope. Never ever. Ever.)


How you can get involved

– Stop by Dear World’s main website and read more about their mission

– Like Dear World on Facebook

– If you are a photographer or designer, consider joining Dear World’s team

– If you’re planning an event, consider booking Dear World to join you

– Say hey to Dear Omaha, the first expansion of Dear World outside of New Orleans. Send them hugs. And high-fives. And happy thoughts. Dear Omaha is on Twitter, so that makes it easy for ya.

Dear World, you’re pretty neat.

Cheers to more fun photos.
Cheers to inspiring people.
Cheers to changing the world, one magic marker inscribed message at a time.

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