‘Dear World’ Project Comes to Boston

The photo project offers hope and healing to Marathon bombing survivors and the City of Boston.


Robert X. Fogarty started the Dear World project in 2009 after taking pictures of people who wrote “love notes” on their bodies to the city of New Orleans. The tagline of the project is, “We aren’t changing the world, but we take pictures of people who are.” It’s fitting then, that the project ranges from stories of cancer survivors, to hurricane survivors, to tornado survivors, to stories of Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

Fogarty says that he asks people to share one meaningful message (on their body) with family, friends, and strangers. “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,” he says on his website.  

Fogarty brought the project to Boston, and asked Marathon bombing survivors to return to the finish line and share their stories. Celeste and Sydney Corcoran were two of the bombing survivors who wrote messages on their bodies, not only for the project, but to help start the healing process. Both women told me that the project was a powerful and helpful way to continue on their recovery journey. It was their first time back to the finish line, and the emotional trip was also therapeutic, they both said, to show that life goes on, and that terror will not win.

“I had never been back, and this was about reclaiming it. That finish line has been a negative space since the marathon. This was about reclaiming that space in a positive way. I chose to be there. I took back control,” Celeste says.

View the slideshow above, and Celeste’s video story, below.