Portraits of lives affected by climate change

Flood for thought: The world’s poorest countries are suffering the outsize impact of climate change. Gideon Mendel provides a sea-level view


Gideon Mendel describes his photos of flood victims as “submerged portraits.” Rather than depicting people fleeing, he depicts them living amid the water.

Based in London, Mendel began working as a photographer in South Africa during apartheid, an experience he says “defined my lifelong approach to photography and inspired me to seek out ways to engage creatively with social and political issues.”

In this project, called Drowning World, Mendel captures images of floods in countries, rich and poor, that are most affected by flooding. Much of previous climate change photography, he says, “was very white. It was about glaciers and polar bears, and it felt very impersonal.”

To photograph victims in the water, Mendel wears waist-high waders designed for fishing. He’s lost several cameras to the water. His photography tells individual stories. “Generally,” he says, “people are quite keen to show the world what’s happened to them.”

An exhibit of Gideon Mendel’s photos will be on display at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, from May 13 to October 16, 2016.


Portraits of lives affected by climate change

  1. This lazy copy and paste journalism is criminal level exaggeration. Shame on Macleans!
    Get up to date; CO2=Y2K
    97% of all climate lab coat consultants now agree climate change could be even worse than the unstoppable warming effects caused by global warming and are also 99% certain smoking could cause cancer and the planet isn’t flat.

    Who’s the redneck in our children’s history books?

    *Occupy no longer mentions CO2 in it’s list of demands because even they know 35 more years of debate and climate action failure is certain and unstoppable.

    Follow the herd sheeple.

  2. Um, the picture of J.B. Singh, in Kashmir, India shows a number of high water marks from previous floods. Were they caused by so-called global warming as well?

  3. What a pretentious idiot the photographer must be. He’s probably as dumb as the folks who see his “work” and believe it is actually the result of climate change, as opposed to seasonal flooding, or poorly designed infrastructure. (dams, berms, etc.)

    No doubt, these photo’s were meant for folks in Toronto, Paris, Washington, and London.

    Frankly, I have been to many of these countries, and if the people who lived there were worried about their environment, they wouldn’t use their own country as a dump and a sewer.

    There are places in India where hundreds have to share a toilet, and the result is folks going to the beach and dropping a load with their neighbours who also heed the call of nature. There are also cities in India where the best way to take care of business is to shit in a plastic bad and throw it out the nearest window.

    Trust me….folks in the WEST, care far more about the environment, than folks in the developing world.

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