Moderator: Pamela Chen


‘Drowning World’ explores the human dimension of climate change by focusing on flood across geographical and cultural boundaries. By highlighting the personal impact, Mendel evokes our vulnerability to global warming, questioning our sense of stability in the world.

Mendel will present the four narrative threads that have developed over the last ten years: Submerged Portraits, Floodlines, Watermarks and the Water Chapters. Using these differing visual strategies Mendel has create a project that is both politically and artistically engaged; rather than a literal depiction of disaster zones, the dialogue between the these various elements helps create a nuanced and complex response to global warming.

Solo shows of Drowning World have been shown in galleries and public installations around the world, most recently in 2017 at Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, France.

After the presentation, moderator Pamela Chen will follow up with an interview and Q&A with the audience.


Gideon Mendel PortraitRecognized as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographers, Gideon Mendel intimate style of image making and long-term commitment to socially engaged projects has earned him international acclaim.
Born in Johannesburg in 1959, Mendel established his carrier with his searing photographs of the final years of the apartheid. In 1991 he moved to London, and continued to respond to global issues, such as AIDS/HIV. Since 2007, Mendel has been working on Drowning World, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change.

Mendel has been working for many leading magazines including National Geographic, Geo and the Guardian Weekend Magazine. In 2016, Mendel received the inaugural Jackson Pollock Prize for Creativity and the Greenpeace Photo Award. Shortlisted for the Prix Picket for 2015, he has also received the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the Amnesty International Media Award and six World Press awards.


Pamela Chen PortraitPamela Chen is a creator of visual stories for impact. She specializes in amplifying the voices of creative artists through multi-platform creation, curation, and technology.

Pamela is Instagram’s Head of Creative, Community, where she leads a team responsible for Instagram’s visual content voice, curation and creative development for its official editorial channels, serving a community of 800 million+ worldwide. This follows more than a decade of mixed media experience: she was Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic magazine, and oversaw photography and multimedia production for the Open Society Foundations. She produced and edited documentary films at MediaStorm, and worked as a national newspaper photojournalist. As a musician, her sound design and compositions appear in broadcast and online publications including The New York Times Magazine, Showtime, Hulu and Wired.


February 9, 2018

Mitchell Park Community Center
El Palo Alto Room
3700 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA