Mendel began photographing in the 1980s during the final years of apartheid, and his work as a ‘struggle photographer’ garnered global attention. In the early 1990s, Mendel moved to London, from where he continued to respond to global social issues. Since 2007, he has been working on ‘Drowning World’, a global art and advocacy project about flooding. Presenting Mendel’s personal response to climate change, ‘Drowning World’ includes a series called Watermarks, wherein found images retrieved from floodwaters are resurrected, and presented as abstractions of treasured memories, transformed through the chemical interaction with water.
With a career spanning over thirty years, Gideon Mendel is a critically acclaimed photographer whose intimate style of image-making and long-term commitment to projects has earned him international recognition, most recently in the form of the Pollock Prize for Creativity (2016). Other accolades include the Amnesty International Media Award for Photojournalism (2002), Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography (1996), and six World Press Photo Awards.