Of the hundreds of friends most of us have on Facebook, we will probably never have a conversation with most of them, never mind meet them face-to-face -- unless you are Ty Morin, of Burlington.
The 23-year-old Hartford Art School grad plans to travel to visit every single one of his original 788 Facebook friends in person and photograph them -- not with an iPhone or a digital camera, but with an old-fashioned 8X10 camera.
His project is called “Friend Request: Accepted.”
Morin estimates that it will take about an hour to photograph each person.
The other part is a documentary that captures the passion that Morin’s friends have for the things they love to do, whether it is sculpting, dance or body building.
“I think it’s important to remember that everyone has a story,” Morin said, even if it’s not right there on the surface. I’m hoping this project will inspire people to ask what do I love to do because everyone should have something that makes them tick,” he added.
So far, the response has been positive.
“Everyone’s onboard for helping out,” Morin said.
He admits there have been a couple awkward instances along the way. It’s something that has to be expected when you show up on the doorstep of someone you have not seen since middle school and ask them to show off their talents on film and video.
Initially, Morin was hoping that the people in his original friend list would help him get this project growing and they delivered by spreading the word online.
In February, Morin posted the idea on Kickstarter, a site where you come up with an idea and ask people to donate money to fund it.
Morin’s original goal was to raise $5,000 to subsidize the cost of the film and some travel expenses, but that’s changed with the realization that he’ll be traveling as far as Spain and Thailand to reach everyone on his board.
Using the website Kickstarter, he has already raised close to $14,000. His fundraising drive through the Kickstarter website ends March 26, but he is planning on setting up a website that takes followers through his journey and also allows them to donate.
He expects the project to take at least three years, but he has not set any specific deadline. For him, it’s the experience that matters.
“I’m so excited. Photography is my passion. If I could do this for the rest of my life it would be the greatest thing I could ask for,” he said.
Morin will set off on a road trip at the end of April and hopes to photograph about 150 friends by the end of the year.
“It’s quite a big task to take on by myself,” he said, so he is looking to his artistic friends to travel with him and help out on the documentary part of the project.
“(I’m) looking to use a lot of friends in any way I can to help me with this,” he said.
Morin knows this project will take years it will be worth it if he reaches his goal of exhibiting the photo series in a New York gallery that can handle 788 pictures.
“It would be a really cool experience,” he said. “Kind of bring everyone back together.”’
He’d love the documentary to make it into film festivals, like SXSW or Sundance.
His other goal is to help people who have not found their passion to realize what they love to do. He expects the project to take atleast 3 years but he has not set any specific deadline. For him, it’s the experience that matters.
“My passion is photos and this project is allowing me to do that. I want other people to do what they are passionate about,” Morin said.
With the international attention he has already drawn, and the more than 700 new Facebook friends he’s gained, a sequel may not be out of the question.