InfraPhotographs by Richard Mosse
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Infra, Richard Mosse’s first book, offers a radical rethinking of how to depict a conflict as complex and intractable as the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mosse depicts the rich topography, inscribed with the traces of conflicting interests, as well as rebel groups of constantly shifting allegiances at war with the Congolese national army (itself a patchwork of recently integrated warlords and their militias). For centuries, the Congo has repeatedly compelled and defied the Western imagination. Mosse brings to this subject the use of a type of color infrared film called Kodak Aerochrome. Originally developed for military reconnaissance and now discontinued, it registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, rendering the green landscape in vivid hues of lavender, crimson, and hot pink. The results offer a fevered inflation of traditional reportage, underlining the growing tension between art, fiction, and photojournalism. Mosse’s work highlights the ineffable nature of current events in today’s Congo. Infra’s photographic dialogue begins as an intoxicating meditation on a broken genre, but ends as a haunting elegy for a vividly beautiful land touched by unspeakable tragedy.
Richard Mosse (born in Kilkenny, Ireland, 1980) holds an MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art, and additional degrees from Goldsmiths, London; King’s College London, and the London Consortium. His work has been widely exhibited internationally, including at the Palais de Tokyo and the Tate Modern. In 2011, Mosse was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, with a supplemental stipend from the Leon Levy Foundation. Mosse is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery.
Adam Hochschild (essay) is the author of numerous books, including King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, and To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918. Among his many honors is the Theodore Roosevelt–Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Historical Association in 2009. Hochschild teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
“Great Mistakes: Richard Mosse,” The New Yorker, November 1, 2011
“Richard Mosse’s Majestic, Disturbing Infrared War Photography,” The Huffington Post, November 23, 2011
“Richard Mosse’s Beautifully Violent Infra,” ABC Digital News, Judith Perez, March 19, 2012
“Book Review,” GUP Magazine, March 22, 2012
“Shifting the Colors of War,” The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Horne, March 30, 2012
“Vivid Guides to Unfamiliar Landscapes,” The New York Times, Dana Jennings, April 27, 2012