5 May 2009

His castle was a Soviet-era student dormitory block, and from there UQ exchange student Matt Ogg set out to discover Prague and Europe.

With the rite-of-passage backpack, a camera in hand and a diary full of self-confessed illegible handwriting, he captured his experiences to create his photojournalistic work: Czech Mates: reflections of an Aussie student on exchange.

Mr Ogg said the book not only reflected a unique variety of locations, interactions and histories, but looked at what it meant to travel and the ways living abroad could inspire you.

"This book is for anyone that's travelled or even thought about it," he said.

"For those who have, I hope to switch on some memories and for those who haven't, I want to show them the possibilities out there - their world is just one of many realities and there are other options."

He said the book was written out of gratitude for all that made his experience possible and encouraged people to grasp the travel opportunities that came their way.

"I'd also like to show people how wonderful and complex Europe really is, and to challenge the iron curtain that still exists in people's minds that somehow makes a nation at its geographic centre become eastern.

"But to truly understand those complexities would take a lifetime – my book is one window."

From the gothic spires of Prague to rugged Bulgarian mountains, the Chianti springtime to seagulls in the snow, Mr Ogg said he hoped to prove that Czech Mates was not just a bad pun, but a visual feast and an interesting read.

Czech Mates is being launched on Friday, May 15 at the Ideas Space, level 2, Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37), The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus and the launch will be hosted by the UQ School of Journalism and Communication.

Czech Mates: reflections of an Aussie student on exchange was self-published by Matt Ogg through 3E Publishing and will be offered at a launch price of $19.95 per copy on the night.
Media: Sam Ferguson, Faculty of business, Economics and Law (07 3365 6662,