Born in 1992 to a family of photographers, Iggy Smalls is a fast-emerging image-maker with an interest in truth and fiction
Born in Norway in 1992, Iggy Smalls is from a family of photographers. “I am the first to make a career out of it, but my great grandpa, grandpa and dad were all hobby photographers,” she says. “My father collects analogue cameras and, though my grandfather died when I was 16, there’s a room in my grandma’s house filled with albums, negatives and prints that still smells of developer.”
Introduced early to the family passion, Smalls was nine or ten years old when she picked up her first camera, “a wide, plastic, instant one that produced these thumb-sized Polaroids”. Later she started shooting for her school newspaper, and she went on to take a BA in Photography & Imaging from Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, graduating in 2015. In 2016 she received a scholarship for newly graduated artists from the Norwegian Arts Council, and she is now based in Barcelona, Spain, where she is focusing on two personal projects – Cat Boixeres and Neverland x Springbreak4ever.
“In Neverland I reject the notion that a photograph or a photographer is able to capture the truth,” she explains. “I have a hard time grasping the definition of truth, and though I do not deny the power that images have to move us, this project will hopefully move you to question what is staged or otherwise manipulated, and what coincidentally really just happened.”
Cat Boxieres, by contrast, reflects the new urban farms springing up in Barcelona. “Behind the Barcelona city’s grey stone facade hides green patches of groves,” says Smalls. “These thickets can generally be divided into private, collective, municipal and unregistered ones. The municipalities in Barcelona own a significant number of groves, which are primarily reserved for retired and socially vulnerable inhabitants.”
The photographer has also discovered that there are many other plots though – illegal or unregistered ones, that are hidden between highways and train tracks but whose produce still somehow makes it to the markets around the city. Cat Boixeres‘s title is inspired by a recurring character in the orchards, the cat, plus the name of the first orchard she saw in Can Boixeres.
It’s a story with an obvious political dimension, given Spain’s current economic situation, but Smalls says she’s chosen not to pursue that in her shots. “I try not to push a social-political agenda or my opinion through my photos,” she says. “Instead, I would like to show something that was there all along, not paying my attention to or appreciating it through a camera.”