In the recent years, India has sadly enough, seen too many bombings and terror attacks – one worse than the other. And yet the horror of it all never really leave us. We have been left speechless and shocked each time it has happened and we have hoped and prayed that our future doesn’t see a repeat of any of this.
So when, in 2013 April my mom called up and gave me the news of Bombs going off in Boston, I was heartbroken. It was only when I reached work that I realised what had happened and how runners and supporters have been left immobilised by this cowardly act.
This year’s Boston Marathon, as someone truly said, is an event for the world. It has surpassed the interest of only marathon runners of USA and elite runners of the world. Boston is more about persevering now than about just racing. Maybe, it never was about just racing.
So when Robert Fogarty took his camera to visit the Boston finish line, he knew he would come back with shots of people who have survived strong, who have refused to bow or slow down. They have survived and they have returned to take back that day. To bring sort of a closure to an event which may have given them sleepless nights in hospital beds or next to their dear ones.
Robert started Dear World – his webpage – around 4 years ago in New Orleans. He had asked residents to write their love notes to the city. The residents came out in groups, with messages scribbled across their bodies. That was the start of his project.
This year he and his team visited the Boston marathon. In his own words, “We went to Boston because the survivors have an incredible story to tell. And their wisdom is something that needs to be shared with others.”
And that he did. His photographs went viral some days before the Boston 2014 race. There were women who had lost their legs, but not their spirits, and men who were standing tall with scars and bruises. Friends who had come out in memory of someone they lost, and supporters who decided that Boston needs them more than ever, Now!
“I think people find inspiration differently. Any of the portraits where people really reflect about what they want to say are my favourites,” Robert said. But I have my own favourite in his gallery of images. It speaks not just of courage and will power, but also of unconditional love.
I found it amazing that someone thought of doing this. And I am not being biased because I like running a bit from time to time. I think hope and faith (not of the religious kind) can make people strong. And as long as you believe you can, you will. That’s the message I am taking home from these pictures – taken hundreds of miles away and yet moving me all the same.
Robert, by the way plans to keep doing more such Dear World projects. As long as he can document people’s voices in this style, he is happy. And we are happy for him.
Here’s to you Robert. My 100th post to someone who showed me what everyday heroes are like.