He uses drone photography and photoshop to create thought-provoking depictions of what the future holds for the world.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 7, 2023. It has since been updated.
Whether we believe it or not, climate change is real and it is happening right now. Every day, we hear stories about how the actions of humankind are adversely affecting the delicate balance of this planet we call home. Unfortunately, despite seeing the warning signs, many of us avoid thinking about it. However, for French photographer and digital artist Fabien Barrau, turning a blind eye toward global warming just won't do. He is on a mission to shake us out of our slumber by depicting the full scope of the climatic apocalypse unraveling around us. His haunting creations aim to make us confront the truth that we are facing as a dystopian future, reports Vice News.
Using his drone and incredible Photoshop talents, Barrau investigates what prominent architectural locations throughout the world will look like in the aftermath of the climate catastrophe. Speaking of his "News From The Future" series, he said: "I remain convinced that a simple image can have more impact on people, especially the youngest, to understand the probabilities of the consequences of inaction." Barrau envisions himself as a future explorer navigating a new world besieged by desertification, flood, destruction and disaster.
He added: "This series is a personal work of anticipation of the consequences of climate change. It is not a scientific work but an artistic work where I am inspired by the probabilities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data."
In February 2022, the IPCC issued a report warning that the window for avoiding the most severe effects of climate change is closing and that we as a society must act quickly to avert its most disastrous implications. Barrau digitally retouches drone video and stock photographs to depict these disastrous repercussions, submerging the Statue of Liberty in waist-deep waters, transforming the Arc de Triomphe into a marine decoration, and transporting the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum to deserts.
Barrau's series straddles surrealism and dystopia and is greatly influenced by films and art that explore both genres. He explained: "Since my childhood, I have been a big fan of the post-apocalypse theme and the collapse of a civilization."
As an homage to his influences, he purposefully strove to make his series cinematic. The depiction of two whales swimming over the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, for example, is a homage to the French artist Roland Cat, whose work in the 1970s and 1980s envisioned marine animals floating above drowned cities. Films such as "Planet of the Apes," "Mad Max," "Akira" and the National Geographic documentary "Aftermath: Population Zero" have also influenced him.
He explained, "I like to do landscape and architecture photography and I had the chance to travel to many countries to photograph fabulous environments. But over the years, I have increasingly felt the devastating effects of this climate crisis on biodiversity, landscapes and people. It seems difficult to me to continue to pretend that nothing changes."
His most recent series reimagines mesmerizing landscapes via a conservationist viewpoint, such as interpreting Amazon flames as a macaw crying for aid or transforming a grove of coniferous trees into a bear-shaped aerial panorama to emphasize the interdependence between the environment and animals. His dramatic pictures are an attempt to catch people's attention while he delivers thought-provoking stories that highlight the need of the hour.
Here are some more of his haunting creations: