Exhibition at Oxford House College in London
25 August 2009

The faces of English students from 50 countries are the subject of a special project.

Oktay Çolak, 39, is a photography lecturer at Marmara University in Turkey. He got the idea for his project when he was studying English last year at Oxford House College in London.

He returned earlier this year to take portrait photographs of students from 50 different nationalities. They are on show at the college until the end of August, and are also the subject of a special book published by Oktay.

He said: “I came here and spent seven months as a student. I am normally teaching so this was different.

“For seven months I looked at student behaviour in the class, and I thought of this project.

“I photographed people who were Japanese or Chinese or Indian – but they had all come here to learn English and that means they became the same. White, brown, it doesn’t matter  -- they wanted to become the same by learning English.”

Oktay is pleased with the results and would like to return to take photographs of English students from even more countries.

William Chouffot, the creative director of Oxford House, is also delighted with the photographs. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this,” he said.

“The photos show that we are all the same. It is also a record of all the students who came to our college at one time. They share one thing, which is their aim to learn English. They all hope to use English to make the most of their careers and lives.”


50FacesFrom50Countries 3

An image taken from the exhibition 
Photograph by Oktay Çolak
Sponsored by Oxford House College


by Susan Young 



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