The Strangers Project: What’s your story?


Ever see a stranger and wonder… “What’s it like being you?” Well, in 2009, Brandon Doman did, and, this time, he decided to do something about it.


In that moment, The Strangers Project was born.


Originating as Doman’s person passion project, the Brooklyn-based movement has blossomed into a public platform for others to speak openly and candidly about their lives. Whether it be messages of hope, recountings of personal trauma, descriptions of meaningful experiences, or even confessions of guilt or regret, the hand-written letters submitted by passers-by represent one thing: the honest truth of existence.


“There is something special about seeing them on paper, just as they were written,” says Doman. “It’s a reflection of the people we share our space with every day.”


Since 2009, The Strangers Project has visited public places around the country, with their latest stop being North Canton, Ohio. Here at The Visor, we decided to check it out.


Walking up to the hundreds of hanging letters and reading each unique story in each person’s own handwriting was a very surreal experience. At one point in time, people passing by the exhibit– just like us–at different places around the country sat down and offered the world an often deeply personal glimpse into their lives.


Faced with a massive sign in the center of the exhibit posing the question, “What’s your story?” we decided to write our own.


We grabbed two clipboards from the stack, two blank pieces of paper and two pens. We then found a quiet spot, sat down, and began writing the story of our own existence.


The cathartic act of writing down the meaningful moments in our lives that have defined who we have become, while simultaneously knowing that someone other than ourselves will soon read them and possibly relate to them is an unmatchable experience.


After submitting our pieces into the journal entry box, we began reading the stories around us.

We read of a man’s experience being confined to a wheelchair for the entirety of his life; we witnessed the obstacles he has overcome.


We read of two women’s battles with eating disorders; we witnessed their struggles.


We read of a man’s sorrow and grief over his daughter’s death; we witnessed his pain.


We read of a woman who recently got engaged to “the man of her dreams;” we witnessed her happiness.


We don’t know these people, we’ve never even met these people, yet in front of our eyes hangs their pain, their struggles, their heartache, their joy. In front of us hangs their existence.