For many of us, the words “climate change” trigger images of the earth under fire. Fire, as in literal heat: drought, dust storms, rising temperatures around the world. But another vision of climate change is one of water, as ice melts and contributes to rising sea levels.
This is the vision at the center of Allie Wist’s “Flooded” photo series, an exploration of changing foodscapes in a hotter, wetter world.
Wist is an associate art director at Saveur magazine, so she knows a thing or two about food presentation. For “Flooded,” she teamed up with photographer Heami Lee, prop stylist Rebecca Bartosheshy, and food stylist/recipe maker C.C. Buckley. The end result: almost fantastical food tableaus featuring mostly seafood.
Naturally, rising sea levels would in theory mean more room for seafood harvesting. Of course, not all seafood would flourish; jellyfish and seaweed would be among the things taking over. Wist predicts that we’d farm more seafood like oysters to boost water filtration. That said, some vegetables would do well in this new climate. Dandelion, burdock, and sunchoke all get shoutouts. And of course, mushrooms would utterly flourish.
The resulting photographs are, of course, beautiful. But they’re also a reminder that food access is a political and social construction. Viewing climate change through food is an incomplete assessment of its total impact. And, if that’s what it takes to get people to pay attention, then it’s already too late.