Gideon Mendel was born on 31st August 1959 Johannesburg, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cape Town where he majored in African Economic History and Psychology. Gideon began photographing in the 1980s, during the final years of apartheid. This experience as a “struggle photographer”, documenting the brutality of the South African state’s response to peaceful protest, ‘marked him’ on some level and for much of his subsequent career his focus has been on responding to the key global issues facing his generation.Gideon is widely regarded as one of the world's leading contemporary photojournalists.
In the early 1990s he moved to the UK and embarked on his longitudinal project on the impact of HIV and AIDS. That photographic odyssey began in London where he documented life in an AIDS ward and expanded to Africa where he has worked with organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, The Global Fund, Treatment Action Campaign, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Action Aid and the Terrene Higgins Trust. The concluding and ongoing chapter, Through Positive Eyes, (produced with the UCLA Art and Global Health Center) is a global collaborative project in which Mendel’s role shifted from photographer to enabler, handing over the camera and image making to people living with HIV.
Since 2007 Mendel has been working on Drowning World, an art and advocacy project about flooding, his personal response to our climate crisis. The project has been noted for its complex narratives and unusual use of portraiture in extreme conditions. This endeavour has been seen in multiple contexts: it has been exhibited in many galleries, museums and photo festivals; it has been used in climate activism in collaboration with Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion; and it has been published in magazines such as National Geographic, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Independent Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Geo and Aperture Magazine.
Amongst many accolades Mendel has won the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the Amnesty International Media Award, the Greenpeace Photo Award and he has been shortlisted for the Prix Pictet in 2015 (Disorder) and 2019 (Hope). In 2016 he was the first recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s “Pollock Prize for Creativity”.
Publications by Mendel
Awards & Exhibitions
2019 Shortlist for Prix Pictet 2019 (Hope)
2016 Greenpeace Photo Award 2016 (Jury Prize)
Jackson Pollock Award for Creativity
2015 Shortlist for Prix Pictet 2015
Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant
2002 Amnesty International Media Award for Photojournalism
2000 World Press Photo: Honorable Mention, Daily Life
1998 World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, Arts and Entertainment
1997 World Press Photo: 1st Prize, General News Stories
1997 World Press Photo: 1st Prize, Nature Stories
1997 Nikon Press Award: 1st Prize, Stories
1996 W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography
1995 World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, Nature Stories
1994 Pictures of the Year: 1st Prize, Photo Essay
1993 World Press Photo: 1st Prize, Sports Stories
1991 World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, People in the News stories
2019 Damage at The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg
Drowning World at Zone-I Gallery, France
Drowning World at Festival du Regard, France
Drowning World at Cortona on the Move, Italy
Drowning World at Intime Literary Festival, Belgium
Deluge at the Solidarités Music Festival, Belgium
Burnt Memory (with Jonathan Pierredon) at La Chambre Noire, Arles
Drowning World at the Oak Institute for Human Rights, ME, USA
2018 Drowning World (and Deluge) at the Kyotographie Festival, Japan
Drowning World (and Deluge) at MOMA Jacksonville
Deluge at PhotoFest Gallery, Houston
Drowning World at the Ray Trienial, Frankfurt
Drowning World at Horizonte Zingst, Germany
Delugeat the Instuture of Humanities Gallery, UMICH
Drowning World at the Landskrona Festival, Sweden.
2017 Drowning World at Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles
Drowning World at WAM (Wits Art Museum), Johannesburg
Drowning World at Kaunas Photo, Lithuania
Dzhangal at Autograph ABP, London
The Ward at the Fitzrovia Chapel, London
2016 Drowning World at ‘Points of Departure’, part of the Estuary Festival
Drowning World at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU
Drowning World at LagosPhoto 2016.
Drowning World at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul
Drowning World at the Jaipur Photo 2016
2015 Drowning World at the Lianzhou Foto Festival 2015
Drowning World billboard exhibition in Paris prior to COP21
Drowning World-UK, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth.
Drowning World (Video and Stills), Lianzhou Festival, China
Drowning World, PhotoFestival Naarden, The Netherlands
2014 Drowning World, Queen’s Park station (Contacting Toronto Festival)
Living in Yeoville Revisited, Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg.
Drowning World ‘Picture Windows’ installation. ICP, New York.
Drowning World, Tiwani Contemporary. London.
Drowning World.‘After Photography’ festival in Montevideo
2012 Drowning World, Somerset House East Wing Gallery.
2009 Kingsmead Eyes with Kingsmead School, V&A Museum of Childhood.
2001 A Broken Landscape and Facing AIDS, Museum Africa.
A Broken Landscape and Facing AIDS, SANG
2000 A Broken Landscape HIV and AIDS in Africa, Oxo Tower, London
1998 A Broken Landscape HIV and AIDS in Africa, The Spitalfields Gallery.
1997 A Broken Landscape HIV/AIDS in Africa. Perpignan Photo Festival
1993 Waiting for Rain: Drought in Zimbabwe. Perpignan Photo Festival
1989 Beloofde Land (Promised Land) Market Photo Gallery,Johannesburg.
1988 Living in Yeoville, Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg.
1986 TheStruggle, Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg.
2019 50 Years Collection at Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles
Through Positive Eyes at the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles
2018 The World to Come at the Harn Museum of Art, Florida.
Coal and Ice at Fort Mason, San Francisco.
2017 Bending the Frame, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, New York.
Through Positive Eyes. Durban Art Gallery and touring.
2016 Drowning World at The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video. Ryerson Image Center, Toronto.
Bending the Frame, Copenhagen Fotografisk Center and touring.
The Water Chapters at ‘Weather or Not’ (The art of Climate Change) MU Gallery, Eindhoven, Holland.
Drowning World at ‘What Next-Picture Tomorrow’ 38CC Gallery Delft
Through Positive Eyes Collaboration Durban Art Gallery
2015 Prix Pictet, Disorder, Musée d’Art Moderne Paris and touring
2014 Lost World (video art) The Freer and Sackler Gallery, Washington DC
Forecast Anderson Gallery at VCU
Times of Struggle (UK and South Africa) Double Negative Galery
2013 ICP Triennail, A Different Kind of Order
2012 ICP, Haus der Kunst and touring, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid
The ART Show, The Museum Africa and touring in South Africa.
The ART Show Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The National Mall.
2010 Not Alone, The Castle, Iziko Museum of Cape Town
2009 Lucy Florence Art Gallery, Los Angeles, 13 Love Stories
2008 Make Art Stop AIDS The Fowler Museum in LA and touring
Historias Positivas Cento Banimex, Mexico City
2006 The Body at Risk ICP, New York
1993 Positive Lives. Photographers Gallery, London
2019 Through Positive Eyes (with David Gere) Published by Aperture
2017 The Ward published by Trolley Books
2017 Dzhangal, published by GOST
2001 A Broken Landscape: HIV and AIDS in Africa(edited by Chris Boot)
2018 The Deluge five channel video installation part of Drowning World exhibitions at Kyotographie, MOCA Jacksonville, PhotoFest Gallery and the Institute of Humanities Galley, UMICH.
2017 Water Chaptersfilm part of the Drowning World exhibition in Arles
2016 Water Chaptersfilm part of Drowning Worldexhibition at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU.
2015 Water, Chapters 10 and 11 shown at the Plymouth Arts CentreDrowning World-UK show.
Two-channel projection of Water, Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 facing Water, Chapters 10, 11 and 12 at the Lianzhou Festival, China.
2014 Water, Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 shown at the Freer and Sackler Gallery in Washington.
2013 Water, Chapters 6 and 7 shown at the ICP Triennial in New York and at Tiwani Contemporary in London.
2012 Curator Okwui Ewenzor commissioned Living in Yeoville for the Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibition.
Through Positive Eyes, a short film is shown as part of the opening plenary session of the 2012 Global HIV/AIDS Conference in Washington.
2011 Kingsmead Eyes Speak, a film made with pupils from Kingsmead Primary School shown at the Open Cities Documentary Festival and the East End Film Festival in London.
Living with Floodwaters, a short video about flooding in Bangkok was shown on MSNBC and is voted a ‘staff pic’ on Vimeo.
2009 Kingsmead Eyes, a film made with pupils from Kingsmead Primary School was shown at the V&A Museum of Childhood and at the New York Photo Festival.
2005 AIDS orphans in Swaziland broadcast on BBC Newsnight.
2003 The Harsh Divide, a series of four short films about access to HIV Treatment broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK.
The International Centre of Photography (ICP), New York, USA
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, USA
Davis Museum, Wellesley College, MA. USA.
The South African National Gallery (SANG), South Africa
Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) South Africa
WAM (Wits Art Museum)
Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles
Major Magazines and other Publications
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Tacloban Disaster
2019 Aperture Magazine, The Watermarks from Drowning World
2018 Geo Magazine, Drowning World
Foam Magazine, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Fires in California
Fotografi (Norway), Drowning World
2017 6Mois, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Floods in Texas and Florida
2016 ArtAfrica, Filming But Drowning
Vrij Nederland, Drowning World
Musée Magazine,Issue Chaos. Drowning World
2015 National Geographic, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Migrants on Crossing the Med
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Drowning World
Photoworld (China), Floodlines from Drowning World
2014 The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Three Feet High and Rising
2013 The Independent on Sunday Magazine, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Tacloban Disaster
09–12 Through Positive Eyes website: www.throughpositiveyes.org
2011 Kingsmead Eyes Speak website: www.kingsmeadeyesspeak.org
2010 The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Forgotten, But Not Gone
2009 Guardian Weekend, Proposition 8, Gay Couples in California
Guardian Weekend, Think Positive
2008 German Geo, Memory Boxes for HIV/AIDS
Guardian Weekend, Flooding in Haiti
2007 The Guardian G2, From Mother to Child
Equal Treatment, Children and HIV
The Guardian G2, A Tale of Two Floods
2006 The Guardian G2, Soweto, 30 Years After the Uprising
The Guardian G2, The Memory Box Project
Guardian Weekend, I Look Like my Mother (Pantomime Dames)
Observer Magazine, Happy Days (A Hackney School)
2005 Guardian Weekend Magazine, Eight Women, One Voice
National Geographic, Living With AIDS
Guardian Weekend, An Answer in Africa
2004 Guardian Weekend The Children Left Behind
Sunday Times Magazine Violated and Isolated (Rwanda Women HIV) Living Proof 10th Anniversary of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance
2003 Guardian Weekend, Salvation is Cheap
Positive Nation, Facing AIDS in South Africa
National Geographic, A Land Possessed (Land Issues in Zimbabwe)
2002 HIV Treatment Activist Poster Set made with MSF in South Africa
Guardian Weekend. Looking AIDS in the Face
2001 Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Life Savers
2000 Guardian Weekend, While the World Looks Away
L’Express, Le Sida en Afrique
1999 Poster Campaign for the Terence Higgins Trust, Fighting Stigma
POZ Magazine, AIDS in Africa
Guardian Weekend Magazine, Israel, State of the Nation
1998 Reportage Magazine Booklet, A Broken Landscape
1997 Reportage Magazine. Troubled Waters
Conde Naste Traveller. Lost Tribe of the Kalahari
Focus Magazine, AIDS in Africa
1996 Grands Reportages, Koyasan, Japanese Village of Temples
Independent Magazine, Days of Empire
Fortune Magazine, Young Americans in Vietnam
Independent on Sunday, The New Black Mayor of Ventersdorp
Greenpeace Magazine (Germany). Senegalese Fishing Village
1995 Photographers International, British Photography
Das Magazin, King Goodwill Zwelithini
Reportage Magazine, Claremont Road
Claremont Road, A Festival of Resistance Publication
The Open Book. Publication for Crisis at Christmas
1994 Christian Aid Poster Campaign, We Believe in Life Before Death
Reportage Magazine, De Aar Elections
1993 The Independent Magazine, A High School in Soweto
Tempo, AIDS Ward, Middlesex Hospital
Independent Magazine, An Everyday Occurrence (Zimbabwe HIV)
Telegraph Magazine, The death of the Zambian Football Team
1992 Independent Magazine, Paradise Lost (Return after Removals)
Tempo Magazine, The Crisis of Somalia
Tempo Magazine, London’s Homeless
Merian, Portrait of Johannesburg
1991 The Independent Magazine, The Black Jews of Israel
1989 Leadership Magazine, Promised Land
The Observer Magazine, The British Who Choose South Africa
1988 Leadership Magazine, Living in Yeoville
1987 Stern Magazine, Forbidden Photos from South Africa
Beyond the Barricades (Popular Resistance in South Africa)
1986 Leadership Magazine, Lines of Sight (Images of the Struggle)
at http://gideonmendel.com/ [Accessed: 27 September 2019]