While that dreaded word, Brexit, is set to fill all corners of our lives in the upcoming weeks (not to mention the last few years), many questions around British identity have been raised. For the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, Brexit presents an awkward situation for the Brits that share a border with Spain. Resoundingly British, Gibraltarian’s have had two referendums in 1967 and 2001 resulting both times, with over 90 per cent of voters in favour of remaining British. While some people mistakenly identify Gibraltarian’s with the stereotypical “Brits abroad” agenda, the photographer Luke Archer says differently.
The London-based photographer has frequently visited Gibraltar over the last ten years since some of his family moved there. He notes the territory’s distinctly unique culture that is neither British nor Spanish, but, like many other areas, has developed its own culture combining the nationalities that reside there. Luke tells It’s Nice That: “What people often don’t realise is that Gibraltarian identity is unique. The people have their own culture and history, just like the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish. Many Gibraltarian families’ ancestry is half British and half Spanish, so of course, that is going to shape their identity, including their language.”
For the last few years, Luke has been travelling back and forth between Gibraltar to capture the British-identifying people and their culture. The photos possess a sense of the surreal as quintessentially British objects like the red postbox and the Union Jack are given a Mediterranean backdrop. For his ongoing project The Rock, Luke stays with family while he photographs a different kind of British landscape. “I usually stay for a week or two,” Luke tells It’s Nice That. “I’m very lucky in that I can stay with my family and I do benefit from the local knowledge. On a previous trip, my step-mum heard that a lot of local families had reserved their spot on the beach for National Day the night before, so I was able to get up at dawn and photograph all the parasols in the sand. It’s a shot that I haven’t seen replicated anywhere else.”
Source : https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/luke-archer-the-rock-photography-140319366