FOUND BY LAURA - Human stories found on the ground
Found By Laura is a personal collection of handwritten notes that have literally been found on the ground over sixteen years of collecting and turned into an exhibition of life. From love letters to break-up notes and naughty shopping lists, founder Laura turned this little collection into an art exhibition.
Since then, she has produced several exhibitions, made a coffee table book and a range of other merchandise she now sells online.
The origins of Found by Laura go back to 2005 when she found a shopping list written on a bright orange Post-It note at Carlingford Woolworths. One side had a basic shopping list written on it and the other side had something more personal: "Andrew - App Drug + Alcohol counsellor 1st Feb."
Laura instantly felt a connection to the writer and just couldn't bring herself to throw it away.
Not long after that she found another note on a blank receipt that said "I love you BeBe, your angel", and then another two that read "do me slowly" and "you would look good on me."
The one note that really resonates with Laura is one she found on the floor of a New York subway in 2007. It was a piece of note paper with beautiful handwriting on it that read "Jealousy, denial of pleasure, denial of happiness, satisfaction, development, aware of others’ resentment.” At the bottom it read "I often refuse to admit how I am feeling because it is so painful."
Reflecting on it now, Laura knew she was going through her own personal pain and struggle so this raw piece of someone else's life, just lying there on the dirty subway floor, really spoke to her.
“It's the perfect note that encapsulates everything I love about finding these gems,” Laura revealed. “The juxtaposition of the beautiful handwriting, the location of it in the subway and the words. I often wonder how this person is doing today.”
It would seem that becoming an art curator was on the cards for Laura, who herself has a background in the arts. She is a television editor selling stories for a living. And it's the stories that intrigue her most as she tries to envisage the lives of the note writers.
After time Laura started to realise that the tiny collection of notes on her shelf at home was growing, so she decided to give them a new life and social media played an important role in doing this. Laura uploaded them to Instagram for others to enjoy. In Laura’s view, humans crave connection and seeing snippets of other people’s lives helps remind them how important this connection is.
You can find these fascinating insights into people’s lives on Intagram @foundbylaura. She posts every time a new note is found.
In her own words: “Found By Laura is my first passion project. I'll always be finding notes so it's something that will remain with me forever.”