Far - Near is a visual journey to the far geographical corners of Europe and to its very center. The four corners are Iceland to the north west, the northern Ural mountains to the north east, the Caucasus to the south east and Portugal to the south west. Beyond these regions it is no longer Europe.
Along the way Jens Olof Lasthein discovered that drawing diagonal lines across the map between these corners they cross each other in what must logically be the center of Europe: Belarus, a country he knows well. Still, the thought that this is the center of Europe never occured to him. On the contrary, Lasthein writes that travelling around the country often reminds him of the faraway corner where he grew up.
Thematically, the book challenges the notion that a midpoint is always central and the periphery is always marginalized. From what viewpoint do we form our shared reality? Furthermore, it advocates the idea that Europe still is the geographical entity it used to be-not just another word for the European Union. In consequence it alters the now-established perspective of the continent. In the book, the reader is taken through a display of sceneries, portraits and situations dealing with human conditions and states of mind, all aimed at creating both surprise and recognition.
The map of Europe is the foundation of the book, yet it dissolves borders. Panoramic photos and texts from all five destinations are intertwined all through the book. The reader will never know for certain where he or she is. In a time where still more borders are set up, the book suggests another view on the contemporary.
About the photographer
Jens Olof Lasthein is an award-winning Swedish photographer and has been working as a freelancer for 30 years. His work can be classified as subjective documentary and for emotional reasons he works entirely with a wideangle panoramic format in all of his personal projects. "Finding the panoramic camera was like finding my eyes", he's said.
He has previously published four books and has held over 50 solo exhibitions around the world. His first book Moments in Between was selected by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger for The Photobook: A History, vol II. In 2010 he received the Leica Oscar Barnack Award for a series of pictures which later became part of his book, Meanwhile Across the Mountain. He is presently the recipient of a 10 year work grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. For more details, see his website www.lasthein.se
Published: October 2022
Extent: 208pp Size: 30 x 24 cm Illustrations: 96 colour
Text: Jens Olof Lasthein Binding: Hardback Book design: Patric Leo