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Richard Mosse's Photographs of the Congo

Posted by Josh Rothman  November 16, 2011 03:00 PM

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Richard Mosse, a photographer based in New York, has used Kodak Aerochrome -- an infrared film used by the military in World War II to pick out camouflaged buildings -- to photograph the war in the Congo. The project is called "Infra." (Be warned that the portfolio contains a few disturbing images.)

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colonel soleils boys smaller.jpg

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In the 1960s, Aerochrome became a psychedelic film stock, used to photograph album covers for Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead; it produces startlingly beautiful, otherworldly images. The look reveals the way a beautiful landscape has been made alien by war, and highlights the limitations of photojournalism. Mosse's press release quotes a poem from W. G. Sebald's "Unrecounted":

They say
that Napoleon
was colourblind
& blood for him
as green as
grass.

Though the war in the Congo has officially ended -- there was a peace deal in 2003 -- the Eastern Congo is still at war today. The photos are on view at Jack Shainman in New York, and a book, Infra, is out from the Aperture Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Images courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

More images, including some from other photo projects, at Richard Mosse Photography.

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