The work of Gideon Mendel, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading documentary photographers, is presented at Plymouth Arts Centre in collaboration with Fotonow CIC.
“In a flooded landscape, life is suddenly turned upside down and normality is suspended. With an almost ‘tracing paper’ effect on the societies in which they occur, flood waters often reveal underlying tensions and difficulties as they recede. It is these elements that continue to draw me to flood zones, evoking many questions about our sense of stability in the world.” – Gideon Mendel
Mendel’s practice supports activist purposes; he has worked extensively recording change in South Africa and the impact of HIV/AIDS across the continent. In recent years he has covered global floods caused by climate change. Since 2007, Mendel has been working on the series Drowning World, which visually addresses socio-environmental issues of a warming planet. Much of the work in this exhibition focuses upon the Somerset and Thames Valley floods of winter 2013-14; the images on show include landscapes vanishing underwater and portraits of flood victims within the landscape of their own personal calamity.
Mendel’s intention is to explore the effects of climate change in an intimate way, revealing the impact on the lives of those affected and to depict these people as individuals, not as faceless and nameless statistics. Mendel has documented flooding beyond the UK; in India, Haiti, Pakistan, Nigeria, Australia and Thailand and his moving image works from this global project will also be screened during the exhibition.
Some of the works will be published in the second Fotonow CIC photofold essay, which will be available during the exhibition.