Jordan Oram Wrote A Book You Read And Plant – The Journeyman
Cinematographer Jordan Oram’s The Journeyman is the first-ever plantable book, sure to inspire for years to come. This innovative 100-page offering is a revealing portrait of discovery by a remarkable young artist.
You may think being a Grammy-nominated cinematographer who has worked with Drake, Coldplay, Usher, Post Malone and others tells a pretty good life story. But for some rare individuals, it’s not even half the story. Allow us to introduce you to Jordan Oram, storyteller extraordinaire.
Oram is one of the most creative young directors of photography in the entertainment world, having created multiple award-winning music videos for some of the biggest names on the planet. He has worked on movies such as Cinema of Sleep and Spiral, and he is currently shooting the first season of the CBC/BET+ series The Porter.
Of Jamaican descent and raised in Pickering, Ont., Oram has recently turned his creative eye for storytelling through a lens to pen and paper as an author with the release of his debut book, The Journeyman, in which he explores the themes of male vulnerability, self-worth and strength as a young BIPOC man in the entertainment industry.
It is a captivating and revealing portrait of a young man inspired by his own journey of loss, grief, depression, success and self-love, while expressing some of Oram’s favourite self-refinement tips, life lessons and affirmations.
“For me, The Journeyman is a recollection of my thoughts, self-refinement and overcoming fears and male vulnerability,” says Oram. “To understand where you are and to understand where you need to go takes a level of self-identifying without self-doubt. For me, I needed to find a way that I could give back to myself, the gift of giving to others that I’ve never given back to myself. I’ve never said words to myself in the way that I had when I wrote this book, so, for me, it was fairly therapeutic to not use Twitter and to put my thoughts on paper through writing. I could take my book and plant it and pray that my own words can grow into what I wish they would. It was a self-sacrifice in that I was going to do something for myself in hopes that others could find use for it.”
When Oram refers to planting his book, he again is demonstrating his eclectic eye for creativity in that The Journeyman is published on handmade paper, so it is not only biodegradable, but also the first-ever “plantable” book. Upon completion, readers can actually plant the book in a pot of soil and water, and as the paper composts away, the book grows into flowers and trees, leaving behind a legacy of knowledge and no waste.
“This is not a book for a bookshelf; this is a book meant to return back to Earth”
The book includes an 85-lbs front and back cover, which can grow a paper birch tree as tall as 40 feet, and the paper in the book is acid-free. Each purchase benefits the economic enterprise of rural craftspeople in Nepal. The physical creativity of the book is as imaginative as the thoughts it contains, as the book was designed to highlight significant page reminders in a biodegradable translucent ivory paper whereby some words are missing, and only by turning the page can you read the message in its entirety.
“When I started this book, I thought how cool it would be if the book was able to grow flowers and trees, and I found a manufacturer in Nepal,” says Oram. “I wanted to find a way to have conversations with people without having them, and so they could have those conversations with themselves, as I always noticed how well people took good care of their plants. I thought that I could give them a book that they could water, that would grow and manifest like the dreams, goals and aspirations they have themselves. This is not a book for a bookshelf; this is a book meant to return back to Earth.”
Oram’s passion for life jumps o the ivory paper as he mirrors his own journey in the past 10 years with an intimate account of his life and his experiences. His intense observations and contemplations about life provide readers with fundamental lessons about fear, male vulnerability, curiosity and self-ownership.
“In my community, we don’t speak about male vulnerability a lot,” says Oram. “I think that at times it’s OK for men not to be OK all the time. It’s not something that is spoken about in the mainstream media or the entertainment industry. I think it is important that creatives who are young, especially people listening from the millennial generation, know that it’s OK not to have your stufffigured out all the time; you just have to show up. I’m just trying to give a little bit of hope, as it’s extremely important to note that I once came from the bottom, so I can say it’s OK not to be OK all the time.” With intuition, insight and wisdom far beyond his years, in The Journeyman Jordan Oram shares his story of knowledge and personal growth, and in a book that you can plant after reading, it is knowledge you can grow and enjoy for many years to come.
INTERVIEW BY ESTELLE ZENTIL