Leafless Diaries: A Project for the Nation

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the project I have been so excited about is finally here!! =) I am soo pumped. And now, I get to introduce you all to the one and only, Vanilla Foehn; Vanilla being the mastermind behind the whole thing. It was such a great thing to finally get to meet her. She brought her diaries, herLeafless Diaries laptop, her camera, and of course, her dog!!

I got the chance to interview her about the project, and it was fun to hang out with her! Still couldn’t guess where she was from though… =)

Now, here is the interview of Vanilla, about the Leafless Diaries Tour.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an ambitious and motivated woman who attempts to make a difference in the world, no matter how slight. A skilled designer, a contemporary painter, an avid blogger, an amateur photographer, a frequent traveler, a lover of adventure, and a forever student of life.

2. Tell us a little bit more about the project itself::

Throughout the next year, the lēafless team will embark on an adventure to obtain the little bits of ourselves that we don’t normally reveal to the world. Five hundred blank diaries will be distributed all across the nation, and each participant will write a single entry in a book – something thoughtful, something deep, something they would normally write in a diary of their own. And then they are asked to pass along to someone they do not know, place in a location for someone to find or request an address from the online waiting list so they can send to someone across the nation.

Those that contribute an entry will be able to watch their book travel around the nation on the home page map. Because we stress anonymity to the highest degree, we only ask for the participant’s zip code. As each participant registers their book online, the path of the book will become updated with it’s new location.

Two months into the tour, they will also begin a project to work with a single photographer from every state. Taking pictures of the supporters of the lēafless diaries project, and in turn creating one of the largest photographic projects ever attempted. The photographer’s work will be showcased online, as well as exhibits around the country when the tour is over, their names and what state they represent will be included in the book, and the truly lucky ones will even have their work in the published books as well.
For more on the story, click here

leafless diaries
the rose garden

3. What made you come up with the idea for this project?

as i was walking along river downtown with my dog sabo, i passed a man wearing torn clothes and greased hair. man after man i passed in similar attire. some tried to chat with me about the weather, some just ignored me, lost in some world of unconscious thought.as i continued along the way, i noticed blankets and pans and other random items in the trees nearby. a sort of make-shift campground. then questions began to flood my brain. how would it feel to live this lifestyle? what were their thoughts on the world? how would it feel to have to beg for change on the side of the road in order to pay for food?

their ways mesmerized me. and i went home and began to plot how i could attempt to live this way. weeks i planned. how i would write about my trials, how i would offload my pictures. everything fell into place, all except the safety. no matter how i calculated it, i was always greatly in harms way.

weeks later, as i was writing in my online diary, a diary that i kept public for the world to read, an i idea sprouted. what if i were to distribute diaries to these homeless and ask them to write entries in the books. without placing myself in harms way, i could gain a better understanding of their world. they have such different views than we do, such different lives, have such different stories.

but why stop there? why not spread the diaries to all those other cultures and circles that i don’t understand. and even those that i think i do. after all, everyone has something to share…find out more

4. What exactly is the project about/what is it’s purpose?

a project to obtain the little bits of ourselves that we don’t normally reveal to the world. and to attempt a connection between all of us, no matter how different.

5. How did you come up with the funding?

up to this point it’s all self-pay. bank accounts and life savings were drained to get this project up and running. so going forward, we’re going to need help! we’re looking for donations and sponsorships to help keep the tour on the road for the next year. any contribution can help!

6. Why is this project so important to you?

so many of us feel unable to express the feelings and thoughts we have. this is our opportunity to release a little bit of that, and have others read it and hopefully they will be able to learn from it. to provide a new perspective, to educate us in a new way of thinking, to open our eyes, or to comfort us in knowing that others are going through the same sort of situations.

7. What’s the first state you plan to schedule a shoot in?

iowa, which is two months into the tour. the months leading up to it we’ll have to circle back around to complete the full 50 photographer/50 state photography collaboration.

8. Have you chosen any photographer’s yet?

yep!! the first state has been chosen (to be released soon!) and the next two states will be chosen next week.

9. What are you looking for in the requirments of the posters?

the requirements for the models are to just be yourself. whatever emotion you’re going through that day, or want to express, is what we ask for you to display during your shoot. we want to capture a part of you, not force you to portray an image that you are not.

the requirements for the photographers.. hmm… well, we’re looking for a wide range of professional and amateur photographers. different backgrounds, different experiences, different styles. the world of art is just as different as the lives that fill our world. and we want to capture that.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your project, or what is your main
goal for it’s outcome?

to help form a connection between all of us. whether it’s that 80-yr-old grandma with blue hair, or that high school basketball all star. no matter how different, we all go through the same trials and triumphs. have the same embarrassments, get upset at the same reasons, feel happiness in the same ways. of course, the situations are different, but we still have the same emotions. and when we share these experiences, others will be able to read through them and will undoubtedly find stories they can relate to, maybe have our eyes opened. maybe learn of a new perspective or find comfort in their words. helping us realize, that we are not alone in the world. that others go through the same things we do.

To find out more about the tour, and keep with the diaries, visit the website!!