Mad Max Meets Trump In Von Wong Post-Apocalyptic Photography Project

Mad Max Meets Trump In Von Wong Post-Apocalyptic Photography Project - Photographer Benjamin Von Wong's latest project focuses on a post-apocalyptic world where the people in it have been turned into oxygen refugees.

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General Photography

'Oxygen refugees'


Photography, as of yet, might not have the power to change the world but it can be used as a rather powerful message-spreading medium and that's what photographer Benjamin Von Wong is currently using it for.

Benjamin recently hit the headlines with his project 'Mermaids Hate Plastic' which highlighted the fact that in an average American's lifetime, they will use 10,000 plastic bottles. His latest project, which has the rather topical title 'Mad Max meets Trump's America', is continuing on the environmental issues path but this time, it's air pollution that's his concern. 

Earlier in the year, Benjamin found a website which was bottling oxygen and selling it to polluted cities in China (it sounds silly, we know) and he also discovered that his old school in Beijing had an airlock in the gym as well as air filters in every classroom so the children could breathe cleaner air. This rang alarm bells for Benjamin and as a result, his latest project was born.  

"And so my quest began- to find post-apocalyptic soldiers trading, using and controlling oxygen beneath a coal mining machine," Benjamin Von Wong. 

The shoot, where the final images see families sharing oxygen from fishbowls with plants in them, was actually planned several months ago and Benjamin had no intention of the project having a political slant but recent events changed this slightly, as Benjamin explains: "With President Trump’s recent commitment to bring back coal, my fantastical concept started to feel a lot more real."


Mad Max meets Trump's America


For the shoot, volunteers in Germany joined Benjamin and his team at Ferropolis, a former strip mine that was converted into a museum in the early nineties. Eight of the models brought their own post-apocalyptic outfits and props (pretty cool) while others brought whatever lighting and clothing they had to help bring the shoot idea to life. Many of the props were actually custom built from recycled waste by a group called the Wasteland Warriors which included an 'oxygen harvester' made out of a fishbowl and a teapot that became the centrepiece of one of the shots.


Strip mine Germany

© Grim Photography 


Wasteland Warriors

© Anna Tenne


Strip mine Germany


Strip mine Germany portrait shoot


As with many of Benjamin's shoots, this one wasn't a quick 'in and out' photography session. In fact, the image below took about six hours to create. The family featured in the shot are American expats who, with the power of photo editing, good props and set design, were transformed into 'oxygen refugees' surrounded by other post-apocalyptic survivors. 


Family in the post-apocalyptic world


Benjamin does say that the project is, obviously, an exaggeration as he'd never expect the USA to reach that level of pollution but as all good photo projects do, it has got people talking about the issue it was designed to highlight and the photographs are pretty awesome, too. 

You can learn more about the story behind the project over on Benjamin Von Wong's website - and in the 'behind the scenes' video below. We also have a few more features about Benjamin's work which are well worth checking out, including his recent lava portrait shoot and an idea which unfolded in toxic water 30m deep

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