“Robert’s portraits are part journalism and part story. When you look at a person’s eyes and read their words, a beautiful feeling about what matters overcomes you.” -Deepak Chopra
If you could send one message to someone or about something you care about, what would it be?
Robert X. Fogarty’s “Dear World” unites people through his distinct message-on-skin portraits. Subjects are asked to share a short message that matters to them regardless of race, religion or language. He states, “We aren’t changing the world, but we take pictures of people who are.”
Stories of hope. Stories of struggle. Stories of a brighter day.
The project began as a photographic love note to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, he has photographed thousands of people including survivors of major disasters as well as recognizable people like Susan Sarandon, Elle Macpherson, Nev Schulman, Drew Brees, and Frank Warren. He’s worked with organizations including Stanford, Harvard, and Georgetown. In addition, he came to my university — Ohio State.
What message did I want to share with the world? What a loaded question! I let my heart do the talking, and I absolutely love the message I chose. It fully encompasses everything I stand for and I can only hope it touches someone the way it touches me.
After my photo was taken, I walked back to my dorm with the biggest smile plastered to my face. All of the positivity in that room was astounding! These beautiful messages, shared by students my age, give me so much hope for the future. We are writing our future, one hand at a time. We are changing the world, one love note at a time.
“Knowing yourself is beyond figuring out your favorite color, your ideal mate, your favorite pet, or everything about your best friend. Knowing yourself means respecting your values in life, your beliefs, your personality, your priorities, your moods, your habits, your magnificent body, and your relationships. Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears. It means being aware of your eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, your likes and dislikes, your tolerances and limits, your insecurities and your fears.
Get to know your personality. Who are you behind your name? What are your characteristic traits? What image do you portray to the outside world? What is your true nature as a person on a happy day, on a sad day, in face of a challenge or a great reward? How do you react to the world around you?
Get to know your values. Which values feed the flames of your fire? In your work, in your home, in all aspects of your life, which ones can you not compromise on? Is it honesty, integrity, security or flexibility? Is it dedication to others, wisdom and learning, financial comfort or fun? Do you value loyalty above excellence, responsibility above ambition, or innovation above improvement?
Get to know your body. How well do you know your body, your breathing, your limits of balance and flexibility? Or have you wrongly decided that you “can’t do this” and that your body “type” won’t do that and thus closed the door to wonderful possibilities? Have you taken enough time to become truly intimate with the loveliest temple on earth, your own body?
Get to know your moods. What frustrates you and what brings you peace? What makes you react a certain way and how can you manage a poor mood at critical times in your life? Learn your best and worst moods and find ways to manage the poor ones and ways to enhance the good ones. Learn ways to release your bad mood that work best for you.
Get to know your likes and dislikes. Have you taken the time to define them just for you? Defining your own likes and especially dislikes takes some guts. If you do not like camping or traveling or visiting your friends in another state, don’t do it. If you love eating out or shopping online or learning Japanese or being a vegan, stop making excuses to please others about your “guilty pleasures”. Stay true to your likes and dislikes.”
Distinguish your thoughts from the thoughts of others, start relying on yourself, organize your world, immerse yourself in solitude, seek out a passion, find a mentor, let go of the need to be loved by all and the need to please all, abandon the negative, ask yourself every question in the book, be ready for dead ends, and serve others.
What motivates you? What distracts you or what do you avoid doing? What do you love to do? What is your greatest strength? Greatest weakness? What are your values and beliefs? Who adds to your life and what to they add? What are your fears and why? What are you most grateful for and why? Are you making progress in the areas you want to improve? What do you want your legacy to be?
Knowing yourself is a road that is long and winding and you must be ready to travel it. It brings you face-to-face with your self-doubts, but it is a journey that pays in abundance. It will change your life every day, so you can be the happiest, healthiest, best “you” that you can be. Get to know yourself so you can love yourself.
Inspire and be inspired.
Tell me, what is your message to the world?