FloodZone is Anastasia Samoylova’s photographic account of living on the knife’s edge of climate change in the southern United States. Sea levels are rising and hurricanes threaten — 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 a 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 with 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 this contradiction.
Anastasia Samoylova, based in Miami, United States, moves between observational photography, studio practice and installation. In 2020 she had her first solo museum exhibition of the ongoing project FloodZone at USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa. FloodZone was published by Steidl in 2019. Another series, Landscape Sublime, explores how social-media images and the repetition of certain motifs inform an understanding of natural phenomena. In recent years the project has been frequently commissioned as large-scale public art installations and shown in a number of solo and group exhibitions.