The celebrated photographer Charlie Clift, a regular contributor to media outlets such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Independent, and The BBC, shows in the photographic exhibition Brits Abroad the reality of British immigrants on the Mediterranean Spanish coast.
Charlie Clift’s portraits invite us to get closer to the flesh and blood characters: children and adults in common, public and private spaces. With no majesty or hyperrealism, the photographer offers us honest looks frozen in time. Sometimes we need to get the clichés through the main door to question them. Life stories can be unraveled starting from the spaces that surrounding them: golf courses, café terraces or some mythical frozen food stores.
As director of a bilingual magazine, Cosmopolita Scotland, that has as one of its main axes the Spanish immigration in Scotland, I find it really interesting to look at the migration to the South of the continent. Specially now that we are living in a moment when the United Kingdom and its membership of the European Union is the focus of political debates, what is known as Brexit.
5.5 million British citizens are living outside their home country, many looking for better weather and more affordable cost of living. Among those 5.5 million of British citizens, 761,000 are in Spain according to the BBC, most of them on the Mediterranean coast.
Clift has illustrated with a special ability the symbiosis of the portrayed people with their environment. The camera questions if their glance had changed in their new sunny scene. Do they look calmer or is there any other type in their faces?
Observing the portraits we can’t avoid to ask if their glance would be the same if the dazzling Mediterranean light disappeared from their faces.
Maybe look from outside always keep some mystery.
Find out more about Charlie Clift’s work on British immigrants in Europe here.