Imaginary Friends & Family Project

I invite you to join the fun, expand your community, meet some strangers. It works like this….

The guidelines

  1. Introduce yourself to a stranger, and tell them that you are participating in an arts project.
  2. Let them know that you’d like to add them to your community of imaginary friends and family.
  3. Document your encounter by taking a snapshot of yourself with your new IFaF’s and posting it to this Facebook page and/or to Instagram with the hashtags #IFAFP and #imaginaryfriendsfamilyproject. Include in your caption the first name(s) of your IFaF’s and where you were–the place, city, state, region, country, etc.–when the photo was taken.
  4. Share your story on the Facebook page, and/or send me an email and tell me about your experience.
  5. Invite others to participate.
  6. I can’t wait to hear what you discover.


I kicked off this project in November 2013, when I lived in Warsaw, Poland and discovered that Warsaw public transit largely wraps up before it’s time to go home if you’re out late. Given my near-absent Polish language skills at the time, walking home seemed to require less courage than hailing a cab.

Home for the Holidays.
Home for the Holidays. (from “Imaginary Friends & Family: Warsaw Portraits)

I needed something to take my mind off the long walk and the fact that I was alone in a new-to-me city well after sensible strolling hours. The obvious answer?!? I invented friends and family to keep me company. The photo-text series catalyzed that night became the first installment of the Imaginary Friends & Family Project.

I had so much fun meeting my Imaginary Friends & Family–my IFaF’s–over the fall and winter that I created a Facebook page  and Instagram hashtags #IFaFP #imaginaryfriendsfamilyproject and invited everyone to join the discussion and to share their IFaF’s with the rest of us.

The project has since gone to a lot of places including to Walmart with some of my students in the North Georgia mountains, to a brewery fundraiser for a rescued dog, to visit Black Friday workers, to Iceland, back to Poland, and to the UGA/Auburn Game Day 2014 in Athens, GA, USA, where I met 48 people who agreed to be my Imaginary Friends & Family. Out of 50 people I asked that day, only one person flat out turned me down, and another took a rain check because he was working. Forty-eight out of fifty people said, “Yes!” Here’s the story.

You can do it, too. Join the community by liking our Facebook page, and make a stranger a friend!


Special Thanks to Joshua Payne for documentary photography.