Chilling Photos Show London After Global Warming

parliament square photo
Photo: Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones: Parliament Square

It's a chilling and scary sight. London after global warming: a square turns into a rice paddy, ice skating down the Thames, Buckingham Palace surrounded by a sea of shanty housing and camels across a park.

"Postcards From the Future," a new show at the Museum of London, is an artistic and apocalyptic vision of how climate change could affect London. camels mall photo
Photo: Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. Camels on the Mall

Based loosely on scientific predictions, it is intended to get people to visually and emotionally connect with the implications of climate change. The artists deliberately chose shots of London that are very familiar and then altered them to show the effect of rising sea levels, food scarcity, extreme sun and drought.

The fantastic images were created by artists Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones who have digitally transformed views of the city from a post card image to a horror show. Other shots include Buckingham Palace and the iconic Gherkin building as shanty towns surrounded and inhabited by eco-refugees, and the Mall as an avenue of wind turbines (quite elegant looking).

tower skating photo
Photo:Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, Jason Hawkes: Skating at Tower Bridge

Didier Madoc-Jones and his partner Robert Graves started GMJ twenty years ago; it is a company which does photo-imaging of buildings for architects. This "Postcards From the Future" project is a labour of love which they have done as a personal initiative because they want to stimulate people and get their attention about the issues of climate change.

TreeHugger spoke to Mr. Madoc-Jones about the show at the Museum of London and how he and Mr. Graves conceived and developed it.

The project started in 2007 when they began to look for pictures of the potential impact of global warming and couldn't find any images that made clear what the impact might be. From their experience with photo-imaging they knew that juxtaposing familiar views with the unexpected would have a greater impact than showing well-known images. The artists felt that people get lazy from seeing so many pictures of the same thing. They wanted to make a stronger point so that people would think about it more.

piccadilly venice photo
Photo:Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones: Piccadilly Circus

The pair discovered that there are actually only about ten views of London that are repeated on every postcard so they had to invent some more views which would seem familiar.

The pictures are a combination of photo montage and complex 3D digital models. There is an extraordinary amount of detail in order to make them feel convincing. The images are huge (1.6M wide),and brilliantly coloured. They are back-lit for greater effect.

The pair will be speaking at the Museum of London tonight, if you are in the area. A set of postcards are for sale (hello Christmas) and prints of the images as well. Graves and Madoc-Jones would love to do the same kind of pictures for other cities, using views unique to each city.

More on Photography of the Environment and Climate Change
Exposed: Climate Change Photography
Environmental Photographer of the Year
Burtynsky on the Gulf Oil Spill

Tags: Artists | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects


treehugger slideshows