Photo Project Looks at Congo’s Civil Unrest Through Rose Colored Lens

A new photo project is putting a different spin on the Congo, an African nation that has long been plagued by civil warfare. The book titled, The Enclave is the project of Richard Mosse who spent three years capturing the striking images.

For the art project Mosse used discontinued infrared film, altering the greens into pinks, reds and even purples. The result is a surreal look into haunting images of war zones and third-world poverty. The photo project is currently on display at this year’s Venice Biennial and Mosse took some time to talk to Wired in an interview about how the project came to be and why it’s like taking care of a baby.


Wired: After two books, an exhibition, a film and three years working with Aerochrome as your medium, how do you see yourself? Has working in this ambiguous zone of artist/reporter over a period of time made your thinking change?

Richard Mosse: When I return from my journeys the transitions or leaps between worlds are the hardest to reconcile. The return to brash New York restaurants and bars after months watching the turgid equatorial climate unfolding over the dense primeval jungle of eastern Congo — this segue between incommensurable realities is the most challenging aspect of my work, and one that I know I will never fully resolve. At work in the field — lost in an Iraqi dust storm, brokenhearted in a Japanese tsunami, hungover in Haiti, under the gun in Gaza, seduced in Beirut, or turning crimson in Congo — I feel at once deeply lucid yet entirely lost in my imagination; my waking dreams verge into nightmares. Returning to downtown Manhattan seems increasingly less real, and I wonder where home for me is actually located.

Wired: Is it possible to say if you find yourself to be more of an artist, or a journalist?

Richard Mosse: Definitely not a journalist. I think that would be slander to the good people of journalism, if anyone tried to describe me as such. Journalists are bound by very strict codes of facticity, the accountant’s truth, while I am accountable only to my imagination, and the world that pushes it into form.


Wired: Does your identity as an Irishman affect the way that you are able to operate in conflict zones? How so?

Richard Mosse: The Irish passport is a golden ticket, one welcomed by leftists, guerrillas, and paramilitaries throughout the world.


Read the full interview and see more photos here.

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