A lot has happened for Robert X. Fogarty in the past year. The Dear World mastermind has gone from community organizer – which he still is with the Evacuteer.org nonprofit he started in 2009 – to a social art director for modern times.
Since On Patrol last talked to Fogarty, he’s worked with the New Orleans Saints again, doing a shoot with former Saint Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS. Fogarty also photographed Saints quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton to help Gleason’s foundation, Team Gleason.
Fogarty’s got New Orleans nailed down, but he’s also building a broader brand with the Dear World project by documenting stories like that of Marine Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Leach. (That shoot is featured in the Spring issue of On Patrol).
As Fogarty sees it, the Leach shoot won’t be the last time he works with members of the U.S. military.
“I’d love to do more work with servicemen,” Fogarty said. “To do love letters home with servicemen abroad I think would just be so awesome.
“To have people thousands of miles away from their families and to write basically a love letter home on their body through this picture is always one that I’ve wanted to get done.”
Many who’ve sat for Dear World portraits have had powerful emotional reactions to the photos – some of which even come out in the pictures themselves. Fogarty says the feeling is equally unique on the other side of the camera.
“Most people don’t ever have that opportunity to have that quick experience with someone that you’ll remember forever,” he said.
Eric Brandner is the USO's director of story development.