August 12, 2014

Eyes On This: Drowning World by Gideon Mendel


                                                                                        Photo Credit: Gideon Mendel
Thick clouds and an intermittent drizzle loomed over my commute today from Brooklyn to the TEM studios in Montclair. The weather forecast called for dangerous flash floods from tonight well into Wednesday. Although tropical storms are not the culprit in this case, I couldn’t help but think hurricane season is upon us. For a New Yorker, it is near impossible to think of hurricanes without remembering those dark autumn days in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy dramatically shifted the environment, testing the city’s systems and its people. It was only fitting to receive news this morning that the Guardian Weekly Magazine just published the latest chapter of Gideon Mendel's ongoing work Drowning World
Drowning World is an impressive photography and video project addressing the global threat of climate change. Since 2007, Mendel has immersed himself in the overflow of water, traveling far and wide to flood-ravaged areas, producing rich environmental portraiture. His short films show people living and coping with water outside of its normal confines. With this work Mendel highlights devastation, aftermath, and recovery in seemingly disparate locations such as Pakistan and Australia. The online version of the Guardian piece features portraits of families during the record-setting rainfalls in the UK earlier this year paired with images from the same locations six months later. 
Drowning World is a singular project with global reach and significance. Mendel captures the wake of loss with beauty and distinction, compelling us to acknowledge that extreme weather is now a part of all of our lives.   
Beginning September 5th, the Anderson Gallery in Richmond, VA will be showing nine Drowning World prints along with the Water-Chapters 6-9 video as part of a curated show entitled Forecast.
For more information, visit gideonmendel.com.