After receiving the Ted Prize for his work in 2011, JR was inspired to create The Inside Out Project, an international participatory art exhibit that allows people worldwide to have their picture taken and pasted up on city walls, windows, fences, even spread out over a stretch of beach, all designed to focus on an idea, an action or a community.
Now traveling with a mobile photo booth built into a truck, JR and his team set up at various locations and, using word of mouth and social media, invite the public to participate by having their large portraits taken, printed out on the spot, and then posting them up on selected outdoor sites.
The Inside Out project aims to celebrate community and camaraderie. The artist and many of the Red Hook participants say they were there to encourage people to acknowledge and engage each other, to remind New Yorkers just how intriguing their neighbors can be, and how the potential for connectivity is always there - if you're open to it. In a time when the worst of characters are drawing far too much national attention, a traveling photo booth designed to delight and inspire is a remarkable idea.
Frankie Fathers, a documentarian visiting NY from London, posed for a poster on Tuesday. She confessed "I wanted to take part in the photographs because I like JR's work. What was really great was talking to other people in the cue as you're waiting to be photographed and I already met quite a few New Yorkers who were lovely and I can't wait to see what my photo looks like on the pavement."
There is still time to head over to Times Square if you'd like your portrait included.