Samuel Ivin, a British photographer of the younger generation, has in his photo book Lingering Ghosts, which mimics the standardized image of passports, collected 28 bust portraits of asylum seekers, who wait from several months to more than twenty years for an answer to or approval of their status application. The artist has physically disfigured these photos of refugees by scratching out the areas around their eyes with sandpaper and a chisel, thus portraying them as anonymous subjects.
He began the project as early as 2013, when attending accommodation centres in the UK, where he got to meet their residents and monitored their distress and uncertainty of waiting. The book is comprised of the photographs he collected of citizens from Eritrea, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria to Sudan and other countries, who had, after arriving at their desired destination, found themselves in a state of limbo. Despite camouflaging their features with aesthetic scratches, the artist managed to capture the images of people, who have been forced to spend their lives as waiting ghosts, and present them as sophisticated portraits, which even with minimum detailing subtly tell the story of their subjects’ personalities. A dotted t-shirt, combed hair, colourful earrings, sunken cheeks, a tightly fastened sweater or subtle smile speak of the newcomers and how they have been robbed of their identity. The series of photographs opens a topical socio-political theme in a contemplative and un-sensational manner, while its cover page, which through colour, texture and design mimics an A4 size enlarged passport, emphasizes the absurdity of its content.