How did this wonderfully crazy project start?
In October 2004, photographer Bonnie Fournier took a selfie of herself and her twin sister Barb. The instant the image was captured, Barb affectionately turned her head and planted a big smooch on Bonnie’s cheek. What happened next has become Smooch! history.
The first time the photographer viewed the resulting photo, in her own words, “My heart went through the roof!” Even a year later, the effect was just the same: that heart-lifting sensation never seemed to lessen. Curious, Fournier decided to photographically experiment to learn whether this effect was universal by collecting photographs of others demonstrating their affection for someone they loved.
In April 2006, Fournier offered the first Smooch! shoot in the community room of her apartment building. Seventeen people showed up, along with six dogs and one cat. Not only did the photographer confirm that, indeed, the resulting images were as equally heart-lifting as her original photo, she also discovered how much participants loved the concept. With strong encouragement from supporters, The Smooch! Project was born.
This small gesture of affection between siblings has miraculously grown into an epic effort that is now reaching around the world. With the help and support of hundreds of volunteers, The Smooch! Project has become Fournier's life work. "What a lucky photographer I am, to have stumbled upon this simple concept," the photographer said. "Happy photo. Happy heart."