Drowning World – Photographer Gideon Mendel’s 8 Year Project


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A new exhibition featuring “Drowning World”, a project by photographer Gideon Mendel, has opened at the Plymouth Arts Centre in UK.

Photographer Gideon Mendel has been working on his Drowning World project for 8 years. The project features a series of portraits of flood victims around from around the world.

Each portrait encapsulates the subject’s own personal tragedies. Seen as a body of work, Drowning World reveals our shared vulnerability of living in a world with an increasingly volatile climate.

Drowning World - Copyright Gideon Mendel
Drowning World – Copyright Gideon Mendel

About the project, the photographer says:

“Drowning World is my attempt to explore the effects of climate change in an intimate way, taking us beyond faceless statistics and into the individual experiences of its victims.

Portraits rest at the heart of the project. I often follow my subjects as they return through deep waters, working with them to create an image in their flooded homes. While their pose may be conventional, their environment is disconcertingly altered”.

The exhibition includes the UK chapter of Drowning World, and also video pieces of floods in the UK and also in Kashmir.

More Drowning World

Gideon Mendel intends to continue working on the project and add to the already huge body of work. He said:

“2015 is a crucial year for many climate change thinkers who see it as a ‘make or break’ point where without significant international action to reduce global CO2 emissions the world could head towards a future of increasing climatic volatility. Hence I am feeling a personal urgency to make this project my main focus and I am currently doing my best to raise funds that would allow me to respond to more global flooding events this year”.

For those unable to get to the exhibition, you can see more of the Drowning World project through Gideon Mendel’s website here.

National Geographic

A selection of images from Drowning World is also features in this month’s edition of National Geographic Magazine.

A selection of images from the eight years I have been engaged with Drowning World is published in this month’s edition of National Geographic Magazine. You can view a slideshow of the images here, and read the text from the magazine issue here.

There is also an article in the Proof section of National Geographic’s website, with a selection of some of the Gideon’s latest images from the floods in Kashmir and a short film which documents his engagement with a couple from Srinigar, Syed and Saba Makeba, as they walk back to their home in Srinagar, through deep floodwaters.

Find out more about the exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre here.