My Drowning World project explores the personal impact of climate change within a global context.
The project began in 2007, when I photographed two floods that occurred within weeks of each other, one in the UK and the other in India. I was deeply struck by the contrasting impacts of these floods, and the shared vulnerability that united their victims. Since then, I have endeavored to visit flood zones around the world, travelling to Haiti (2008), Pakistan (2010), Australia (2011), Thailand (2011), Nigeria (2012), Germany (2013), Philippines (2013), UK (2014), India (2014), Brazil (2015), Bangladesh (2015), and the USA (2015).
As the project has developed, the ‘conversation’ created by juxtaposing images from different floods in different countries has intensified. My intent is for Drowning World to bear witness to a shared human experience that erases geographical and cultural divides. In a flooded landscape, life is suddenly turned upside down. Normality is suspended, and human beings must adapt, strategize;
The Submerged Portraits are at the heart of the Drowning World project. My subjects often invite me back to their homes, and to get there we travel together through deep floodwaters. In these dystopian and disconcertingly abnormal environments, I try to make the moment when I press the shutter calm and connected as I engage with my subjects. My intent is for their gaze to challenge the viewer and be part of a shared portrait of humanity in crisis in the face of natural disorder—a disorder than humankind has played a role in precipitating.
Joseph and Endurance Edem, with their children Godfreedom and Josephine
Ripon Islam and Tarajul Islam
Sariakandi Upazila, Bogra District
Malek Mia, Tahomina Begun, Shamin, Tamin and Tazin