This morning Julia Dinsmore (aka @nothosepeople on Twitter) sent met a link that made my heart sing. Julia knows a lot about injustice and heartache. She also knows a lot about hope. And she knows a lot of good people, like Mary Johnson, whose story is told in the trailer below (and who will be the subject of an upcoming post here).
The hopeful project Julia highlighted is The Smooch! Project. It has been ongoing for years, and it’s utterly delightful. I had no idea American artist Bonnie Fournier had made smooch photographs the focus of her attention as far back as April 29, 2006. That’s the day she hosted her first ever Smooch! shoot. You can read about it on her blog.
Even the word, “smooch”, makes me smile. As terms for kissing goes, this one has overtones of laughter. As the photos slide across the screen, we see one person facing the camera, the other planting a big smooch on their cheek. If you sign up for monthly updates, Bonnie sends a smooch photograph guaranteed to make you smile.
But this project is about more than loving smooches. It’s about stories. Click on Smooch! Project Heroes and you can read about people who have supported project. There’s Erica Fields, a transgender woman who knows a lot about overcoming obstacles, Patrice Koelsch, who helped a Smooch! photographer through a difficult time when one of the project’s pictures became the center of a storm, and Kay Nelson, who knew how to pull off a shoot that included potentially skittish horses. Then there’s the Smooch! blog with some behind-the-scenes stories.
Every photograph is, of course, a story so now there’s a documentary of The Smooch! Project in the making. In it you’ll meet Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel. They’re special friends now, though Oshea killed Mary’s son.
But that’s another story—and another reason for hope.