Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to seek, and to enjoy in other countries, asylum from persecution.” The UK was one of 48 nations to vote in favour of this document at the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and now, 68 years later, British photographer Sam Ivin prints the full statement at the start of his first photobook, Lingering Ghosts. Made up entirely of portraits of people who have applied for asylum here, the book is a reminder – and an interrogation – of the codified notions of morality and fairness that Britain voted for but is not living up to.
Published by Fabrica, Lingering Ghosts asks a simple but thorny question – what does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? Ivin scratched out the eyes of his subjects to induce a sense of foreboding, discomfort and alienation. As Gemma Padley notes in the foreword, “Once we remove our ability to connect with a subject through a person’s eyes, what remains?”
For over four decades, the documentary photography course has forged a reputation as one of the UK’s leading photography teaching destinations. In fact, the very first photography class can be dated back even further to 1912, when it was introduced by the head of the school of art at Newport Technical Institute. The course, however, was set up in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn as a 12-month Training Opportunities Scheme to ‘re-skill’ miners and steelworkers.
The ten winners are: Carl Bigmore, Georgs Avetisjans, Kazuma Obara, Lua Ribeira, Martin Seeds, Matthew Broadhead, Michael Vince Kim, Monica Alcazar-Duarte, Sam Ivin and Sian Davey.
In September 2016, BJP published a special issue focused on the European migrant crisis which, over the last couple of years, has seen a surge of people entering the continent. Many are refugees fleeing conflict, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stating that in 2015 49% of those arriving from the Mediterranean came from Syria, 21% came from Afghanistan, and 8% from Iraq. Even so, attitudes in Europe have hardened, and photography has played a sometimes dubious role in fostering that colder climate. We interviewed image-makers such as Sam Ivin, whose defaced portraits reflect the sense of abandonment among his subjects, migrants seeking refuge in the UK; we also spoke with Patrick Willocq about his work for Save the Children, which aimed to help child refugees in two African camps express their thoughts and experiences. This issue also included interviews with Alessandro Penso, David Molina Gadea, Seba Kurtis, Daniel Castro Garcia and Dario Mitidieri on their work with migrants. In light of recent events we are offering free digital copies of this issue, …