Infrared film turns a war zone into a pink fantasy landscape

Many photographers play with the way infrared photography transforms mundane landscapes into cotton candy fantasy lands. The Richard Mosse-directed video installation The Enclave goes a step further, juxtaposing those landscapes against the lives of rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the video above, Mosse discusses the project, and we get to see some of the sequences from The Enclave. He, along with cinematographer Trevor Tweeten and sound designer Ben Frost, infiltrated armed rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to capture them on film. He used discontinued military surveillance film that registers infrared light that was original meant to spot camouflaged people and objects, rendering the invisible visible. And by showing video of these people and these areas to Western audiences, Mosse feels he is doing just that, making visible what is so often invisible.

He also means to make his war photography beautiful as a way to make people pay attention to it. The oddly colored landscapes attract the eye, enticing the viewer to sit and watch the people who pop out against the backgrounds. It also, he believes, creates an ethical problem in the viewers' minds, as they find themselves finding these depictions of human suffering as aesthetically beautiful.


The Enclave is shown on as an installation, projected on six screens simultaneously. It is currently showing at the Venice Biennale in the Pavilion of Ireland, where it will be until November 24th. The videos below give you an idea of what the installation looks like:

Mosse also has still infrared images from the project up at his website.

The Enclave [Richard Mosse via Curious History]

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