Although it is perched on the southern coast of Spain, Gibraltar has been a British territory for centuries. With a population of around 30,000 people, and a land mass of just under 3 square miles, this small rocky area at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula is host to a culture that’s uniquely both Spanish and British.
50 years ago, Gibraltar held its first referendum over whether or not to remain part of the United Kingdom. A second vote was held in 2002. “On both occasions the Gibraltarian people voted overwhelmingly in British favor,” explains Barcelona-based photographer Iggy Smalls. Smalls visited Gibraltar this September to document their National Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the territory’s 1967 referendum.
Smalls describes Gibraltar as “one of the most densely fortified and besieged land areas through European history.” Her Gib50 photo series shows the quiet coastal areas of Gibraltar, all rocky beaches and Spanish-style homes, contrasted with images of raucous, resolutely British celebrations. United Jacks are everywhere, even adorning “Made in Gibraltar” t-shirts.
Smalls witnessed crowds gather to watch UK Prime Minister Theresa May give a video address, stating, “We will resolutely safeguard Gibraltar, its people and its economy and Gibraltar will remain British for as long as it chooses to do so.” As 96% of Gibraltarians voted against Brexit, the status of the Gibraltar has again come up for discussion between Spain and the UK. By documenting British patriotism in a decidedly European community, Smalls offers a different perspective on post-Brexit Europe.
More on Spain and the United Kingdom:
A Personal Photo Record of London Gentrification
Burnt Out Young Brits in ‘Good Times for Free’
The Spiritual Effects of Photographing Spain’s Ancient Pilgrimage