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Fire / Flood By a South African photographer based in London Gideon Mendel transports visitors from the streets of London to the heart of the climate crisis through a series of powerful portrait images that offer an urgent window into the lives devastated by floods and bushfires around the world. Valid until May 2023, that’s it Gallery of photographers‘s second major outdoor exhibition in the Soho Photography Quarter, its brand new outdoor cultural space is located right outside the gallery. .

Featuring works from Mendel’s Drowning World and Burning World photo series, as well as a newly commissioned film showing daily from dusk, this free outdoor exhibition is Mendel’s personal response to the global climate crisis. Painted across five continents, with the most recent images taken just a few weeks ago during the floods in Nigeria, Mendel’s work documents the shared human experience of climate change that transcends geographic, cultural and economic divides.

A drowning world

Since 2007, South African photographer Mendel has made twenty trips to document floods in thirteen countries.

Mendel’s latest portraits, shown for the first time in the UK, were taken in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state and Pakistan’s Sindh province. Since August 2022, both regions have experienced unprecedented rainfall and been devastated by some of the worst floods in living memory. Countless buildings and structures were destroyed, millions of people were left homeless. Visiting these communities months after the initial flooding, Mendel found that water levels remained high, still filling people’s homes. Even when the waters recede, the damage to human life is enormous. Mendel’s images record this in a deeply intimate and graphically accurate way.

Burning world

It Burning world series is Mendel’s response to the unprecedented increase in wildfires worldwide as global temperatures rise. Since early 2020, he has documented the aftermath of wildfires that have destroyed homes, killed scores of people, and burned millions of acres of land.

Mendel prefers not to document the burning flames, but to look for their effects, the traces they leave on life and landscapes. Set in communities around the world, the people in his Ash Portraits series are framed by the skeletons of their burned homes, inviting us to interact with the charred world around them.

Mendel said “My subjects took the time, in a situation of great distress, to engage the camera, looking at us from their flooded homes and devastated surroundings. They show the world the disaster that has befallen them. They are not victims of this exchange. the camera captures their dignity and resilience. They bear witness to the harsh reality that the poorest people on the planet are almost always the most affected by climate change.”

Gideon Mendel. Fire / Flood
until May 2023
Gallery of photographers
16-18 Ramillies St
London W1F 7LW, United Kingdom


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