Where the magic happens
Where the magic happens is a softcover book featuring the stories of 13 people, who have left home and traveled thousands of kilometers to find happiness somewhere else; in beautiful mountain lodges, hidden hippie communities and one converted mail van on the highway.
For this project I asked complete strangers from all over the world to send me a postcard from their favorite place, telling me what makes the place so special to them. I received over 100 letters and additionally interviewed 30 emigrants to collect the material for the book.
I was so intrigued by all those unique pieces of handwriting, beautiful stamps and interesting textures that I included the envelopes and ephemera in the book wherever possible.
Each of the 13 chapters is about one place, featuring one story. Each chapter contains photos and illustrations of the person‘s story as well as parts of the material they sent me to emphasize an intimate travel journal feeling.
Some envelopes took detours, were opened, didn't have enough postage or the address couldn‘t be read initially; they were marked, written and stamped on or received stickers. I was unsure about whether to remove or retouch them to show the material as sent and intended. However when reviewing my material with supervisors in the University as well as friends or other participants we always ended up discussing and inspecting those details, ultimately being part of the project and contributing to the pool of details to discover.
I had originally planned to simply feature the stories and illustrate the places described as I understood them and their appeal. However when I started receiving all those handwritten notes, often enclosed in visually interesting envelopes with marks and traces of their origin, I was reminded of my own travel journals and changed my original plan.
Apart from simply finding the handwriting appealing and seeing a chance to make the reading experience more personal, I was particularly intrigued by one person‘s choice to send a postcard in a handmade envelope that was crafted from a page torn from a fairytale book. I wanted to give the reader a chance to spot the same things as I did when going through the responses I got and to wonder about the same choices.