A friend if mine has a photograph of Richard Mosse which i’ve been admiring for ages. I’s a haunting photograph of a soldier, standing in a pink field. Taken from his film ‘Enclave” which I really want to see.
His work is stunning. He turns the dark subject matter of war into something beautiful and haunting. Richard uses an infrared camera, a Kodak Aerochrome, to film the scenes creates this psychedelic imagery. In this talk at the Portland Art Museum he describes how the camera has the ability to see the unseen. It is interesting that his use of the camera began when he was frustrated with his work and wanted to push himself out of his comfort zone.
Enclave is a documentary that documents the war in Congo, which barely makes the news. The infrared camera reveals the unseen and Richard speaks about how he wanted to reveal the unseen. Communicate the war. He casts the war in a new light forcing us to change our perception, or pre conceptions of the conflict. The pink almost seems to make you think of blood. It’s a very powerful way of telling a story, by making it beautiful. It brings back the humanity to what is a really dark subject.
“”Of primal importance to me is beauty. Beauty is one of the main lines to make people feel something…. if you make something that’s derived from human suffering or war… if you represent it as beautiful it creates an ethical problem in the viewers mind, they get confused and angry and disorientated. Which is great because you get them to think about the act of perception and how this imagery is produced and consumed…. make visible whats beyond the limits of language”
This is a fascinating video where Richard Mosse talks about how he went about filming the documentary.