“A few days ago, OCA student Yiannitsa Stevens Cegarra put the final touch to a collaborative project that a group of photography students started almost 3 years ago. The result of this collaboration, a handmade book entitled The Nearest Faraway Place. It is the product of the joint efforts of 35 OCA students living all around the globe – China, Japan, Australia, New-Zealand, USA, Russia, Switzerland, Greece, South Africa, Ireland, United Kingdom.
The idea behind our undertaking came from the will to reinforce the link already existing between some of us, users of the OCA photography group on Flickr, and to welcome newcomers to join us. It was a strategy to fight the isolation that sometimes comes with distance learning, and a way to interact with each other in a more direct, tangible fashion.
The brief was simple; each student involved would contribute one picture (a 6×4 print) with an accompanying note, and add the print to a concertina book that would be sent from one student to another, the project growing as it progresses. The picture had to be inspired by the theme ‘The Nearest Faraway Place’. The image could be about real place or an imaginary one, a concept or idea. The only limit was our imagination. The point was to enjoy this opportunity to play and to share something meaningful with other students.
The book started in New York and then was supposed to travel west around the globe, until it ends up at OCA HQ in the UK. But as more and more students decided to join the project, its itinerary and journey became almost epic. We all followed the adventures of our growing concertina with anticipation, fear and joy as it got lost several times in its journey, and miraculously retrieved.
I hope that the project fulfilled its mission. It surely did for me.”
OCA student Stephanie d’Hubert.
“My collaboration in the project was not only to create an image that meant to me The Nearest Faraway Place but also to create the covers for the concertina book.
It was a difficult but not impossible task. The idea, which postdates the start of the project, was to have each student cut out and include, with their contribution, the stamps used by the previous student to send the parcel and pass it on to the next. At the end of the book’s journey the stamps would be used to create the covers. I wanted the covers to have a feel of journeying, similar to those amazing old leather suitcases full of stickers from the places it visited or those well-stamped passport pages.
After receiving the amazing collaboration from 34 students I worked on the covers using thick grey board, slightly larger than the size of the images with accompanying texts. It needed to be sturdy as the book (images only) was a rather thick block. I used a special paper that is almost like fabric, this was ideal to use with regular craft glue and is excellent to print on with a home inkjet printer. I had a couple of ideas for the background image to be printed on to the paper for the covers. For this I sought the advice of my peers via our Flickr group.
The options were: plain manila, contemporary map, or old map. Contemporary map had the most votes so I went on to search for the ideal map that not only spoke to me but that had that sense of where we all are today. The chosen map printed well, unfortunately very little can be seen when all the stamps were place on it, but it compliments well the stamps and it does give a sense of places, seas and journeys made.”
OCA Student Yiannitsa Stevens Cegarra.
There is a long thread of Flickr following all our discussions following the project and its completion which students can read here.
Tanya Ahmed, Stephanie d’Hubert, Selina Wallace, Barry Chandler, Dewald Botha, Susanne Tempus, Mark Racle, Stanislas Abramchouk, Mirjam Bollag Dondi, Madalina Androne, Doug Bell, Rob Brisco, Brian Cooney, Eileen Rafferty, Anne Giddings, John Umney, Siegfried Ip, Michael Colvin, Carol Street, Peter Mansell, Gilly Walker, Keith Greenough, Dave Whenham, Jan Fairburn, Alet Roux, Richard Brown, Catherine Banks, Stephen Barney, Rachel Wakefield, Simon Chirgwin, Stan Dickinson, Ricard Down, Gesa Helms, Judy Bach, Yiannitsa Stevens Cegarra.
Well done to all of those involved!