Ghosts Are Real
215mm x 300mm
73 images, colour and black and white
Edition of 500, numbered and signed
Encompassing diverse camera methods, experimental processing, a range media and various fine-art print making techniques, the book 'Ghosts Are Real' is a glorious full-bleed expression of beauty, colour and abstraction.
The text below by Philip J Brittan outlines the context and style of the book.
'Memory's got nothing to do with the old and grey and faraway gone. Memory's the muscle sting of now.'
'Memory, time, and place are not neatly portioned but in constant, messy relation with one another.'
Looking back, it seems clear to me that 'Ghosts Are Real' is about the bruised relationship between the world and the self, with love providing my own protective shield, present everywhere, agile and invulnerable. It is a reminder that there is no bolt to slide across the past, thoughts, good and bad, welcome and unwelcome, will always return from the long grass of memory.
The work was created during a difficult period of my life. My mother had just died after struggling with illness for several months and dealing with the estate fractured my family in rancorous conflict. I escaped each evening for long, slow walks through the city and surrounding countryside. The night walks became a sort of haven, a place to recuperate from the troubles of the day. Memory is always associative; we recall not just the place itself but what it conjures in the mind. Walking, a different route each time, and often suddenly prompted by a particular place, I regularly experienced the emotional ambush that can arrive in the small hours with the past erupting into the present; welcome ghosts and lyrical memories alive with my time spent in the city, from child to adult—faces, voices, objects, music, walks, animals, stories.
'Ghosts Are Real' is the series of images I created based on those long night walks; images that are as much about feelings experienced—the sense of a vanished world—as the representation of particular places.
The daytime traumas encouraged a bittersweet appreciation of the fragile wonders of the world, the sheer joy of the here and now, of life's exquisite, magical pleasures. And pleasure and beauty, hopefully, finds visual purchase somewhere in the work—a reflection of the liberating freedom of the night walks and the revitalising time of recovery spent creating the images.