FloodZone: Landscape Photography Of Anastasia Samoylova

FloodZone is an expansive photographic project by Anastasia Samoylova reflecting and responding to the problem of rising sea levels. What follows is a representative sample of photography from FloodZone along with an overview of this project in artist’s words.

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The FloodZone project began in Miami in 2016 when I moved to the area. This was my first experience living in a tropical environment. It was the hottest summer on record. Through daily walks that would later constitute an essential part of my practice, I
began to realize how the city’s seductive tropical palette and quality of light concealed the growing dissonance between its booming real-estate market and the ocean’s encroachment on its shoreline.

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FloodZone is grounded in my longstanding attention to the differences between natural versus constructed landscapes, and to the role that photographs play in constructing collective memories and imagined geographies.

Ocean views are prized in the real-estate world, with little regard for building projects’ locations in high-risk flood zones. Investors seem to turn a blind eye to the reality that Miami is steadily slipping underwater.

Miami Beach, in particular, is a striking case study: the artificial island boasts some of the most luxurious properties, but it is subject to regular flooding. Living in Miami is bittersweet: it looks and feels like a paradise, but the only secure roots belong to mangrove trees.

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FloodZone is grounded in my longstanding attention to the differences between natural versus constructed landscapes, and to the role that photographs play in constructing collective memories and imagined geographies.

Focusing first on the American South and increasingly on the East Coast—with the ultimate goal of documenting fifty communities at high risk of rising tides in Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, etc.—the project goes beyond the familiar types of images produced in the aftermath of hurricanes and massive flooding.

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Mixing modes of representation that range from lyrical documentary photographs to images that challenge Southern clichés to metaphoric, allegorical, and constructed photographs—FloodZone aims to manifest the precarious psychological state of lives that teeter between paradise and catastrophe.

Although focused for now on the U.S. East Coast and the South, FloodZone will continue to grow as more communities are threatened by rising sea levels. Communities at risk are those that most severely feel and suffer the effects of climate change; this project frames flooding and its hazards as an urgent global issue that requires universal attention and consciousness.

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