Shortlisted for The Photographer’s Gallery’s Photography Foundation Prize
FloodZone is Anastasia Samoylova’s photographic account of life on the climatic knife-edge of the southern United States. Serious climate change is upon us, but this is not a visualization of disaster or catastrophe. These beautifully subtle and often unsettling images capture the mood of waiting, of knowing the climate is changing, of living with it. The color palette is tropical: lush greens, azure blues, pastel pinks. But the mood is pensive and melancholy. As new luxury high-rises soar, their foundations are in water. Crumbling walls carry images of tourist paradise. In the heat and humidity nature threatens to return the place to tangled wilderness. Manatees appear in odd places, sensitive to environmental change. Liquid permeates Samoylova’s urban scenes and unexpected views: waves, ripples, puddles, pools, splashes and spray. Water is everywhere and water is the problem. Mixing lyric documentary, gently staged photos and epic aerial vistas, FloodZone crosses boundaries to express the deep contradictions of the place. The carefully paced sequence of photographs, arranged as interlocking chapters, make no judgment. They simply show; elegant, sincere, acute and perhaps redemptive.
The coast of the southern United States looks and feels like a paradise, but all is not what it seems. As sea levels rise and hurricanes threaten, the beauty of the place becomes bittersweet. The future is uncertain but life goes on. FloodZone is a book about living with the contradiction.