Thought I’d let you know about a few projects I love and support… because maybe you’ll love and support them as well.
DISCLAIMER: some of these images and websites can be very strong. If you are afraid reading about suicide hotlines and rape stories and the unhappiness that can come with living might trigger some bad processes for, please do not go on reading! I’ll be back with pictures of desserts tomorrow.
First and most loved is Postsecret. I first found out about Postsecret when I was in my first year of university and find it utterly fascinating how someone could take such a simple thing and turn it into both a life-changing experience and a job. Postsecret is managed by Frank Warren, an American man who started by inviting stranger to send their secrets to his address on a postcard. In a few years, it has gone so far that Frank gets as much as 1000 (one thousand!) postcards per week (on average) and publishes a few of them each Sunday on the website, which has managed to stay surprisingly ad-free (Frank makes a living by speaking at public events and colleges, plus he published a half dozen books of secrets!). The messages range from ‘I pee in the shower’ to ‘I want to kill someone’. What is really extraordinary about it is that it created a strong, non judgemental community and managed to make millions of people less alone. Worldwide. And some postcards are just plain beautiful – they become canvas. Frank also does fundraising for suicide prevention hotlines.
Then comes Maddie On Things. Maddie is a coonhound and a rescue dog. Her human friend, Theron, who is a photographer and was also featured in the National Geographic magazine, takes pictures of her on/with random things and the results are just hilarious and super cute. It is minimalistic and beautiful. They also published a book and also do fundraising (for dog shelters and rescue dogs).
Third comes Humans of New York, which is a recent finding to me. In this case, the photography skills displayed are just astounding to me. The artist behind this project, Brandon (who by the way is a History graduate!) takes pictures of people walking the streets of New York. Whether this is a really strange place or Brandon just has lots of sheer luck, I don’t know; any way, he snaps breath-taking pictures of these people and then talks with them, and always comes out with a great caption from that conversation. It seems people really tend to open up to him – his usual questions are, What is your greatest struggle right now? What was the happiest/saddest moment of your life? and, If you could give a suggestion to a large group of people, what would it be?
This last project is the strongest and most controversial. It’s called Project Unbreakable and it features women and men who went through sexual assaults to empower them and others who read the website and ultimately help ‘victims’ of rape consider themselves ‘survivors’. Most of those people has their picture taken with words from their aggressor, or they send in their own pictures. The blog author, Grace Brown, started this project after being raped herself, as a way of healing; and it has helped people do the same since then. While I am not sure I would be brave enough should it ever happen to me, I strongly support this project as it truely increases awareness of the issue.
I realize now that what all these websites have in common is that they make me feel more human, and more connected. Which I happen to forget about from time to time…