Select Page

“We were just enjoying the music.”

The “Dear Orlando” photo series, released today on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, features survivors, family members, and first responders giving their own accounts of what happened, and how their lives have changed in the wake of that night.

The "Dear Orlando" photo series, released today on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, features survivors, family members, and first responders giving their own accounts of what happened, and how their lives have changed in the wake of that night.

The series was created by Dear World, a group that shares people's personal stories through powerful portraits, including words written on the subjects’ skin. Most notably, the group featured survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Daymon Gardner for Dear World

The black-and-white images, taken by photographer Daymon Gardner, each feature one sentence from an individual’s personal account. The stories come from inside the nightclub, from behind the closed doors of countless hospital rooms, and from the homes where families waited for news about their loved ones.

The black-and-white images, taken by photographer Daymon Gardner, each feature one sentence from an individual's personal account. The stories come from inside the nightclub, from behind the closed doors of countless hospital rooms, and from the homes where families waited for news about their loved ones.

In his interview, Orlando police officer Omar Delgado described cell phones going off all around him as he entered the nightclub.

“Phones start ringing all over the place. The one that gets me is the one iPhone that was next to my feet that just kept going and going and going,” he said. “I would see the caller ID, the picture. I was like, 'I know this person's never going to be able to pick up this phone again,'” he said.

Daymon Gardner for Dear World

“It took about two hours of a one-on-one interview before the Pulse subjects made it in front of a camera,” the Founder of Dear World, Robert X. Fogarty, told BuzzFeed News.

"It took about two hours of a one-on-one interview before the Pulse subjects made it in front of a camera," the Founder of Dear World, Robert X. Fogarty, told BuzzFeed News.

“Sometimes they cried, sometimes they laughed, but each one, without a shadow of cliche, told us that they get up each day, put one foot in front of the other, and no longer take life for granted,” Fogarty said of the interviews, which took place over four days in May.

Pictured above is Mina Justice, whose son, Eddie Justice, was killed in the attack. She described going straight to her son's apartment after hearing about the shooting.

“I went to his apartment. I went in and I was like, he's here, I see shoes,” she recalled. “I wasn't there more than ten minutes and the FBI called.”

Daymon Gardner for Dear World

Fogarty refers to the sentences on the subjects’ bodies as “the lede to the story only they can tell.” The messages act as an invitation to learn more about each person’s personal story, he explained.

Fogarty refers to the sentences on the subjects' bodies as "the lede to the story only they can tell." The messages act as an invitation to learn more about each person's personal story, he explained.

“When things like this happen and they don't happen to us personally we all watch in awe,” said Fogarty. “The people it happens to become characters in a narrative that they can't control and never asked for.”

Daymon Gardner for Dear World


View Entire List ›

BuzzFeed – LGBT

Colton Haynes: ‘I lost my virginity to a guy when I was 13’
Teaching union backs campaign for LGBT-inclusive education in schools
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
%d bloggers like this:
More in LGBT
Teaching union backs campaign for LGBT-inclusive education in schools

Close