By Artists For Artists

Richard Mosse: Tragically Beautiful and Conceptual Documentary Photography

Exploring the Complexities of Warfare

     The images of war are always horrifying and deeply tragic. The major conflicts on the global scale were regularly documented after WW II, and a number of photographers captured various sights of civil victims and destructions from Vietnamese, over Gulf wars to more recent combats in Syria. There are various approaches, yet rare are the ones which seem to be surreal and beautiful in a bizarre way.

An Irish conceptual documentary photographer Richard Mosse explores the complexities of warfare in a distinct and rather unique manner. The figures of soldiers or random people caught in a moment of a sudden piece are depicted in vibrant and superficial contrasts which achieve the surreal effect of a hypnagogic vision.

Richard Mosee - Platon, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2012, minus37
Richard Mosee - Platon, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2012

From Photography To Film And Back

Richard Mosse was born in 1980 in Ireland. He received Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art at Goldsmiths in London and MFA in Photography at Yale School of Art in 2008. The artist exhibited solo and in various group exhibitions and his works can be found in several major institutions such as The National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, just to mention the few.  

The curiosity is that his iconic images taken in the eastern Democratic Republic of Cong with a large format camera and the Kodak Aerochrome film (used for aerial vegetation surveys and for military targeting) were extended in a documentary for which he collaborated with cinematographer Trevor Tweeten and composer Ben Frost. In 2017 his video installation Incoming was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria and the Barbican Art Gallery and won the prestigious Prix Pictet.

Richard Mosse - Come Out X, North Kivu, Congo, 2012
Richard Mosse - Come Out X, North Kivu, Congo, 2012

The Concrete, Yet Nightmarish Photographs of Richard Mosse

Mosse is known for using different photographic means in order to produce images which are both documentary and artistic. As a matter of fact, by appropriating aesthetic of infrared, surveillance image and high-resolution satellite spying technology so typical for the military, Mosse managed not only to radically rethink traditional representations of conflict photography but to question the very concept of contemporary combat strategies from geopolitical and anticolonial perspective.

All images copyright of Richard Mosse.

You can view more work by Richard Mosse on his Website and Instagram.

Article written by Vladimir Bjelicic

Richard Mosse - Growing up in public
Richard Mosee - Taking Tiger Mountain
Richard Mosse - Nowhere to run, minus37
Richard Mosee - Another Green World
Richard Mosse - Love is the drug
Richard Mosse - Of lillies and remains
Richard Mosse - Flower of the mountain
Richard Mosse - Safe from harm
Richard Mosse - Hunches in bunches
Richard Mosse - The partisan
Richard Mosse - Mother Lukweti
Richard Mosse - The crystal world
Richard Mosse - Come out
Richard Mosse - come out, minus37
Send this to a friend