Memories of Contemporary Spain
I was awarded an RPS Associate Distinction for this Contemporary Panel of 15 images.
The Statement Of Intent
Long before the financial crisis began, I asked a young Spaniard what would happen if tourism suddenly came to an end. He was a manual worker, taking a break and writing computer code into a laptop. He had a PhD in computer science, but had chosen to erect scaffolding because he preferred the outdoor life. He told me the Andalusian population would be content to go back to farming and fishing. Such a thought would be inconceivable to anyone living in Northern Europe, but many do reminisce for what Andalusia once was. The pretty olive groves, the goat-herding, the farming and the fishing communities. Housewives dressed in black, who lime-washed their white village houses. These were the things that once provided a sense of calm and tranquility.
If or when that time comes, they will remember the progressive onslaught of property development, fuelled by tourism, developers, a perceived economic need and an uncontrolled lack of planning. A very different nostalgia, profound, provocative, confusing, a collage of cultures, melded into a kaleidoscopic cacophony of what their country had almost become.
Over time, the memories will blur and merge into a surrealistic montage. Villages bulldozed in favour of high rise apartment blocks, packed tightly together. An onslaught sweeping aside cultural heritage and the very fabric of society. A generation whose aspiration was for a luxury dream home, fast cars, high class casinos and an indulgent nightlife. Countless golf courses which were seen as oases in a sea of all inclusive enclaves, to delude the visitors within. Abandoned projects that would scar the landscape for generations. An urban sprawl, stretching inland as far as the eye could see.
These images represent how the Costa del Sol will be remembered. A once idyllic lifestyle almost destroyed.
Mike Naylor - September 2013