Photobook Award 2013 Fotobookfestival Kassel
Shortlisted for PhotoBook of the Year | Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation Awards 2013
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by Martin Parr
PIGS is a term coined by the business and financial press as a way to refer to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain during their current financial plight.
What started as a pejorative label used by neoconservatives, mainly from English speaking countries, was eventually taken up for some time without any qualms by the media. Excessively high levels of public and private debt, government deficits, a property bubble and, generally speaking, very disappointing political and economic policies, have put the PIGS in the crosshairs. It is alleged that the PIGS won’t be able to bear the pressure of sharing a common currency with their stronger European brethren. In this analysis, the forced exit of at least some of the PIGS from the Euro would lead soon to the demise of the European currency. Yet, how much truth is there to this?
I have attempted to illustrate the stereotypes brought up by the term PIGS. In other words, what we would see if we were to translate into images the articles we read in the financial press. This is how I imagine economists see us. The result is a collection of clichés, both true and incomplete. The same way a travel guide carefully avoids anything seemingly unattractive, this book shows much of what we find embarrassing, oftentimes rightly, and at times unfairly. Either way, it’s just an artifice with which to highlight a specific aspect of life in the PIGS. In the end, what stands out the most is the glaring absence in these images of all that is positive, beautiful and promising in our countries – and that still endures.
"While tourists flock to southern Europe to photograph the beautiful decay of old, Spottorno steps back to show foregrounds the contemporary cultural decline, which invariably rivals the visual extravaganza with romantic view. THE PIGS is a devastating portrait of a culture at the crossroads. " -- Alec Soth