Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | ISO400, 35mm, f/8, 1/400 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong's latest project doesn't pull any punches. For this shoot, he collaborated with the Wasteland Warriors – a pair of artists who pay homage to a Mad Max-style post-apocalypse by creating custom clothing and props. Von Wong began planning the shoot months ago, hoping it would bring awareness to the impacts of global reliance on coal. When the political climate in the US shifted and then-President Elect Donal Trump called for a return to coal, it all seemed suddenly very timely.

Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | | ISO100, 35mm, f/6.3, 1/200 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

The concept envisions a future where oxygen is a precious commodity, controlled and traded by Mad Max-style soldiers. The backdrop is a mining museum in Germany called Ferropolis, and the dramatic setting is complemented by Wasteland Warrior's custom props and elaborate costumes. 

Shot on the Phase One IQ3, Schneider 35mm | ISO800, 35mm, f/12, 1/640 with Broncolor Move & Siros. Photo by Benjamin Von Wong

Per usual, Von Wong provides plenty of behind-the-scenes information, including a post-apocalyptic lighting demo. For the shoot he used a Phase One IQ3 and Schneider 35mm lens. And yes, he did use smoke bombs on the set for effect. He acknowledges how this is somewhat at odds with his message, but ultimately decided it was the only way to achieve the right visual impact and paid a voluntary carbon emissions tax.

In his blog post, Von Wong makes it clear that he doesn't believe this truly the future for the US. 

'To be fair, I don’t expect our country to ever become this polluted. That would be an unrealistic and improbable projection even if President Trump completes his promise to save jobs and bring back “clean coal.”

Yet despite that, coal still presents some very real risks if we ignore what science tells us and turn our backs on developing sustainable, renewable energy.

I think we can all agree that coal is a finite resource that will only carry us so far. Shouldn’t we focus on the future and not dig up the past?'

Does Von Wong's message come through in his photos? Let us know what you think in the comments.