Anastasia Samoylova’s book, “FloodZone” (2020, Steidl), is a collection of beautifully seen images about an impending catastrophe.
Four years ago, Samoylova moved to Miami during the city’s hottest summer on record. It was the first time she had lived in a coastal environment. One of the first things Samoylova began to notice was the dissonance between the city’s booming real estate market and the reality of the ocean’s rising water levels, making their way toward the very places being developed. As Samoylova says in her book:
“Last 3 years brought 3 hurricanes to the shore, yet no substantial measures have been taken to address the issue besides the individual efforts to prepare for and retreat during the storms. Water 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 places like Miami are steadily slipping underwater. Living in Miami is bittersweet: it looks and feels like a paradise, but the only secure roots belong to mangrove trees. ”
As the world warms, the seas rise. This is the result of climate change, which is a hot-button issue for many. On one side, you have scientists sounding the alarm, while on the other side, you have people who think the whole thing is overblown. As recently as May 2019, The Washington Post’s editorial board warned that scientists have said the problem of rising water levels may be even worse than thought. Coastal cities nationwide are grappling with ways to stave off the worst of the impact, Miami included.
Samoylova’s book is an eloquent reminder of the stakes before us. The photos in the book are at once beautiful and foreboding. The iconic pastels of Miami are intermingled with scenes of water erosion, rusted-out hulks of boats and aerial views showing how the city is surrounded by encroaching water.
Here’s how Samoylova sums up the goal of “FloodZone”:
“It was not until Hurricane Irma, which hit Miami in 2017, that I understood the urgency in documenting places that are getting transformed by this already acutely felt outcome of climate change, flooding. From aerial photography to close-up observations of buildings, flora and fauna, my goal is to provide a broad yet focused perspective of what it feels like to live in these at-risk areas while the development continues to bring profit and a sense of denial appears to be instilled by external forces.”
You can find out more about Samoylova and her work here.
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