How many of your Facebook friends do you actually know, and how many have you met in person? For a lot of us, that number is far fewer than we’d like to admit.
Ty Morin, a Connecticut-based photographer and recent graduate from the University of Hartford, has turned that question of the digital age into a Facebook challenge of sorts. Morin has set out to meet every single one of his 788 Facebook friends face-to-face.
“Everyone has something that’s interesting about them,” Morin said today, talking about the project on “GMA LIVE!” “I’m trying to capture everybody doing what they love.”
The photographer will take their portraits, using an old 8×10 camera, and will document his cross-country journey in a documentary, “Friend Request Accepted.”
Morin launched the project two months ago and has met and photographed about 25 of his Facebook friends so far, including a tattoo artist, a weight-lifter, a modern dance and a firefighter. The most interesting friend he has met so far?
“The girls will like this one,” he said today. “I [photographed] one friend who is a writer and he writes a letter a day to a girl like in [the movie 'The Notebook'] and he does it on an old typewriter. It’s really cute.”
To help fund the project, Morin started a Kickstarter page for online donations and was overwhelmed by the response.
“I initially started asking for $5,000 just to cover the cost of film. … It’s now at $13,000,” Morin said.
Morin said people tried to convince him into “defriending” some of his 788 friends before the project began, but he refused, saying that defeats the purpose.
“The goal of this project is to reconnect with people. No more hiding behind the screen of social media,” he explained on his Kickstarter page. “Stop looking down at your phone and pretending you’re texting your BFF when you walk by an old friend from high school. Let’s get out there and remind people what it’s like to have a face to face conversation with someone.”
Despite the challenges and financial cost, Morin say he’s is in it for the long haul. He plans to meet five friends a week, and has calculated it will take approximately three to four years to meet them all.