What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? This was the starting point of Ivin’s research, which began at a drop-in centre in Cardiff, Wales and continued all over England.
The result is a book made up of portraits, where the eyes have been scratched out: once arrived in the UK, these migrants find themselves in a state of limbo, having to await news of their application for asylum for months or even years. They become “lingering ghosts”. Physically scratching the faces of these 28 migrants is a way to powerfully convey the cruel loss of self, and the confusion that befalls them as they wait to learn their fate.
Ivin’s work offers a contemplative take, away from the glaring lights of the media. His modified portraits simply and powerfully give a view on an issue that is often underreported: the plight of asylum seekers.
Despite being represented without their eyes, these people do have an identity and we recognise them as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – human beings, after all.
Sam Ivin was born in High Wycombe near London in 1992. After having graduated in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport, he was awarded a residency at Fabrica. During his stay he finalised his project Lingering Ghosts.
Lingering Ghosts is available here