I have an important question before we start: where do you stand on the subject of ghosts?
There are two main camps: you believe in them, or you don't. I like thinking I'm in the latter one, but, as my godfather used to say, he didn't believe in witches, but it is a fact that they fly. That's where I stand with ghosts. I don't really believe in them, but sometimes unexplainable things happen that can make the most incredulous person change their mind. Bearing this in mind, let me pose another question: have you ever felt the presence of a strange being lurking in the dark in the middle of the night? Our rational mind always tells us that this is just a product of our imagination, but it doesn’t matter how much we’d like to strongly hold on to our logic mind, there’s always something inside us that makes our body shiver and be afraid of even the slightest sound or sensation. What if I told you that we coexist with these spirits all the time without realizing it? You'd probably think I'm crazy, but that's actually what the photographic works of Christopher J. Fowler show.
If You Need, I'm Here is one of his most important projects to date. In this series, the English photographer shows us the presence of ghosts in the city of London. Now, I know they're not real ghosts, and that the spirits portrayed in these pictures might even be described as coarse, since they resemble the classic Halloween ghost costume of a white sheet with holes for the eyes, but what matters here is the message behind it, and that is that each city and each person has a group of spirits lurking behind them wherever they go.
Let's go step by step. The story of this photographic series began when the artist moved to London. Along with three friends, who also chose the city as a temporary home, at first he felt intimidated by the sheer size of the city, the overwhelming pressure to find a job, and also affording a room in this city notorious for extremely high rent prices. However, despite this, they found that there was both an invisible and visible sense of community that accompanied them. This was confirmed when he spotted a graffiti that read "If You Need, I'm Here." In that way, all those invisible presences became visible and real.
Having been absolutely intrigued by spirits since he was a child and having a thirst for research and to know more about ghosts, Fowler devoured books, documentaries, films, and basically anything that dealt with the subject. Photographs were one of his favorite materials. Thus, this belief grew stronger and stronger as he grew up, but it’s not precisely a belief in the existence of the souls or spirits of dead people in the way that we imagine; for him, we are all surrounded by ghosts in the sense that we always have a link to the past that is always there and doesn't want to let go.
When one of his friends moved back to her hometown in Seoul, he still felt her presence quite strongly every time he walked by the places he had visited with her. It was this mark that she left behind and the memories they had shared took the form of a ghost walking alongside him and following him wherever he went. In that way, as he explains to us, we all carry those spirits with us. Some examples of this are the nostalgia our generation has for the past, and how every day on the Internet, on television, and our daily life, we just won’t let go of it, but rather turn it into a constant presence in our everyday life.
So, with this in your mind, let me ask you again, do you believe in ghosts? I bet you do.
If you want to see more of his amazing photographs, take a look at his official website: Christopher J. Fowler and Instagram
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