The Badoo Project Launches in SoHo/New York

SoHo, last week. The Badoo Project has launched on Thursday in New York and has made a dream for (almost) 1000 New Yorkers come true: Being shot by a top photographer and getting an insight into the very first campaign started here in the US. It ended last Saturday and I was among one of the last to get my pictures taken.

The funny thing is that I never knew about this campaign until a friend told me who planned to go there on Friday. The Sunday before I checked out their Web site on http://theproject.badoo.com/ and snagged one of the last few spots for a Saturday arrival.
Badoo had rented out an old loft in SoHo, in the middle of the busiest tourist area ever. When I got there I was greeted by one of Badoo’s employees to first set up my own account. Badoo supposedly is a big thing in Europe already (even though I myself have never heard of it, guess it never made it to Germany!). It is an online platform for social networking meant from all walks of life. The nifty thing about Badoo is that you can meet people in your area and that you can literally see where exactly this person is right now if you click their info. While this might be too personal of an invasion for some, others think it quite a great idea. With the aforementioned campaign, Badoo has been trying to set their foot in the doorway of American social networking and plan to become as big as Facebook (which will hopefully never happen, there is only one Facebook out there!).

Many New Yorkers came out during those three days to look quirky, good, dancy, or goofy in front of the camera. The idea was to simply be yourself and show off what you want to show off. You had the person who felt awkward when being photographed, you had the dancer who grooved some moves for the pictures, and many more. Check out the gallery here to see the full amount of unique photos taken.

After having set up my own account, I was led to a waiting area consisting of comfortable white couches; snacks and drinks were provided right next to that. After 20 minutes or so, a girl called my name and led me to the “backstage” area. High chairs, huge mirrors – it was hard not to feel important. A young make-up artist touched up on my eye shadow and rouge. A hair stylist turned my curly hair into a true mane. Both did a good job and I felt like a star/ model/ significant character when sitting in those two chairs while being styled.

Then we were brought to the accessories area. The girl did not want to give me anything else, though, she thought my outfit had it all. Now the shoot by itself was pretty much over in 2 seconds minutes. Dan Martensen was in Studio 4, and that is where I ended up. He introduced himself as “Dan” and tried some small talk while shooting away a good 20 or 30 pictures. I wondered how many people he had already shot today and he mentioned it had probably been around 80 or 90. Whoof – that is a ton to digest, so I won’t take it against him that he never gave me feedback when my hair was sticking out to all sides and looked outright ridiculous.

When all was over, we were able to choose up to 8 photographs. One was printed out for us and the rest were put on our online profile. I really want to compliment the guy who had to sit with me while going through one picture after another. At first I liked none and then I couldn’t pick less than 8. He must have a lot of patience to deal with the moods of all of the people throughout the day.

After all of this, we got to take home a free T-Shirt (in which I have slept this night) and Badoo even started an open bar from 7 to 9 PM. From what a few employees told me, they had been working 12-hour-days straight from Thursday on and were truly exhausted but also very happy to have accomplished a monstrous project. All acted very professional and forthcoming in making us feel as comfortable as possible. So a big thumbs up to being able to be a part of all this and we’ll see who of those (almost) 1000 New Yorkers makes it on a total of 24 billboards throughout the City!

[For more pictures, go to A Picture Every Day: The Badoo Project.]

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