I Wish You Where Here by Luke Strosnider

Issue 54

The images of I Wish You Where Here were made during a brief time I spent living in the Netherlands. Amsterdam was home and I made occasional visits to a few other cities and towns in Europe.

Living in a foreign country for a few short months creates a liminal existence. It wasn't long enough for me to become a full-fledged resident, but I was far more than a tourist on a quick visit. The entire time was spent in a state of simultaneous arrival and departure. I began to think about the things that define tourism, travel, and familiarity with a place. Crowds, couples, individuals. People photographing, observing art and architecture. Cameras and frames. Modes of transit. Connections made and missed.

The book takes its title from a postcard I found in a stationery shop in central Amsterdam. I was mindlessly flipping through their selection when one made me stop. The text grabbed me first: I WISH YOU WHERE HERE. What was I looking at? A typo? A mistranslation?

The image was jarringly incongruous. A tropical resort scene, all palm trees and white sand beach. Outside the shop, the cold, grey Northern European autumn was transitioning to winter.

Whether an error or a pun, this odd phrasing of a travel cliché echoes the joy and disorientation of days spent occupying an existence between resident and tourist. Looking at that white sand beach returns me to wanderings beneath low, dark skies.

Luke Strosnider lives and works in Chicago, IL.
To view more of Luke's work, please visit his website.

You can purchase Untitled (Blue Coat) from Fraction Editions.