When big disasters happen not only in far-flung climes but closer to home too, it bridges the distance that’s often been felt when we think of people from other cultures. This is exactly what Gideon Mendel’s photographs do in his series Drowning World which are currently showing at Somerset House.
Since 2007 he’s visited India, Haiti, Pakistan, Australia, Thailand and those parts of the UK which have all been devastated by flooding. Addressing climate change, the portraits have been taken of the flood victims by their homes, giving a more intimate insight into their environment. Their faces, looking directly into the camera, have a vulnerable placidity, making the shots even more powerful in the motionless water. What’s beautiful as well, is the water levels in the photographs being a similar height, further emphasising this sense of shared suffering.
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