Photographer and filmmaker Richard Mosse, a 2008 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellow, has been named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “Leading Global Thinkers” of 2013. Mosse is featured for his innovative photographic vision among some of the world’s most influential people, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Secretary of State John Kerry, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Pope Francis. Earlier this year he was selected to represent his home country, Ireland, at the 2013 Venice Biennale.
Mosse has spent years capturing the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his featured work, “The Enclave” (2013), is a challenging and controversial continuation of his fascinating work in the region. He has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Time magazine, and in galleries across the world.
“The Enclave” is a five-screen film installation shot in eastern Congo, and a continuation of his previous work, “Infra” (2012), a collection of photographs made using Kodak’s Aerochrome film. The film, which was developed during World War II to detect camouflage using infrared light, gives the photographs and films a unique and shocking pink hue. In the resulting images, silver rivers snake through bubblegum-colored valleys, dilapidated houses appear drained and colorless before oversaturated foliage, and soldiers pose rigidly against the vibrant, surreal landscape.
“There’s this real tension between ethics and aesthetics,” Mosse said in a video interview for the Biennale. “This is a war, yet it’s profoundly beautiful.” He contrasts his work with the iconic images of Robert Capa, whose stark, grainy, black-and-white photographs and films shaped the conventions of photojournalism. Mosse describes himself not as a photojournalist, but rather as an artist whose work intersects with and departs from the traditional practices of documentary photography. Conventional photography, he explains, “…doesn’t do Congo justice anymore, people stop seeing this tragedy.”
Mosse’s book, “The Enclave,” was published in 2013 by the Aperture Foundation to accompany his exhibition at the Biennale. His first book, “Infra,” was published in 2012 by the Aperture Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In 2008 he was a recipient of a grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts, which makes investments in a small number of exceptionally talented young dancers, musicians, actors and visual artists as they begin their professional lives.
Update: Richard Mosse was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize on May 12, 2014 for his exhibition “The Enclave” shown at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The prize is organized by The Photographers’ Gallery and sponsored by the Deutsche Börse Group to recognize contemporary photographers who have made significant contributions to European photography in the previous year.