Richard Moose // Infra

richard mosse - infra

Last week in 350mc, we discussed the meaning of subversiveness in the photographic language. John asked us to choose a photo book, analyze it and bring it to class. While in the library, seeking for Simon Norfolk’s Afghanistan Chronotopia, I found my way to Richard Mosse’s Infra. After reading snippets from the book, I realized that both Simon and Richard produce their work in a very similar way. Although one being a photojournalist and the other an artist, both use elements different to what the majority does in their respective fields. I am not only referring to the aesthetics of the photographs, but the way they approach their subject. I have analyzed Norfolk’s book in the past so I will talk a bit about Infra and why it is subversive.

This body of work depicts conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in present time. The entirety of Infra has been photographed with a colour infrared stock called Kodak Aerochrome. This film is discontinued and initially developed for military reconnaissance purposes, during the Vietnam War. According to the manufacturer it was “intended for various aerial photographic applications, such as vegetation and forestry surveys.

Mosse uses the film to create stunning and captivating landscapes, but also document the tragedy brought upon the land of Congo. Infra is a groundbreaking documentary challenging acts of violence in a state of war, human life within this state and the familiarity of those with the military. Almost ceremonial are the encounters of the people with the armed men. If deprived of their presence, the landscapes serve no purpose other than alienated beauty. The armed men are context for the impact the war has upon man and nature, where in this book all look different, distant from reality, as if not on planet earth.

Although Congo’s culture is much different to the Western, one can clearly distinguish the signs of Western elements of colonialism. In the book there is a subtle reference on media’s presence, which renders the amount of coverage insignificant. It is a great attempt to bring forward a serious issue and if it doens’t happen from the people we rely to do so, it will happen by people like Richard. “We don’t really hear anything about this ongoing humanitarian disaster. In that sense it’s this hidden, unseen conflict. This film registers the invisible”.

This is a quote from Mosse’s interview for Frieze on his new film The Enclave (2013) which will be shown in the Irish Pavilion at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale. The Enclave is borrowing the aesthetics of Infra by using Kodak Aerochrome S16mm film.

production crew:
Director / Producer: Richard Mosse
Cinematographer / Editor: Trevor Tweeten
Composer / Sound Designer: Ben Frost
Production Assistant: John Holten
Colourist: Jerome Thelia
16mm processing: Rocky Mountain Film Lab
16mm scanning: Metropolis Film Labs
Audio Visual Installation: Eidotech

[other sources: pulitzercenter.org]

#Picbod 4 | Negotiation

You should precipitate a live encounter with a stranger and make a series of images with that subject. During this process you should both depict the subject in the environment and at some point venture into the subjectʼs personal space, you should do this and come away with at least one personal story from them.
Do the exercise once without showing the subject the images, then share the work with them and make another set. Consider how this effects the power-relationship.
Use common sense when approaching members of the public. Provoking a fight, abusing subjects and/or getting arrested is not considered ʻGood or effective Photographic Practiceʼ in this context.

This specific task can be very easy and very hard the same time. Although I am very curious what I can get from a situation such as this I didn’t pursuit my ideas. Last week my housemate, Alexis, was home with his girlfriend, which I met for the first time. The moment we met she was making pancakes, and offered me. What could go better than this, especially when you don’t have food in the fridge.. It happens that the same day I had planned to run a tutorial with Daniel, the other housemate, so he can make photographs for the Empowered Portrait task (I ‘ll be posting soon this). I told her that I would be taking portraits of her. I can’t say she didn’t like the idea, but she didn’t really look to love it. I then explained her the reason for these portraits.

Alicja, portrait

She told me that she likes photography and it’s her hobby. I asked very typical questions to make conversation. She sat on the table and chatted with Daniel who was enjoying a pancake. I picked-up the RB67, looked through the viewfinder. This camera is a challenge to shoot handheld. I was expecting she would be out of her comfort zone, as it was the first time she came to our place. Instead, I was out of my comfort zone. It took me about 10 minutes to find a proper way to hold the camera. Let’s not not forget that the image on the focusing screen is displayed in reverse, right is left, left is right… poor composition. I hadn’t used the RB67 since October, which made me look ridiculous. Most of the shots the mirror crank didn’t work, or the sync cable wasn’t responding. I know that in these situations it’s better to know your equipment, so you don’t miss your chances, but I might have looked less intimidating to her with my amateurish manners. I couldn’t possibly have all the control I wanted. I remember as I looked through the lens, she was calm. I relaxed as well.

Alicja, portrait

Daniel was meant to be the best assistant without any prior arrangements. We had been out the previous night and as for most, it wasn’t for just a pint, as you always state before leaving the house. Imagine, the joy waking up feeling dizzy, dehydrated and hungry, only to find a stranger in your kitchen with pancakes, chocolate spread and fruits. To continue, Daniel was chatting with her, which made my job easier. There were some very short moments, where she forgot I was taking photographs. I went through the film very fast. Next day I developed and scanned it. I showed her the photographs and asked her which ones she likes. Her edit was pretty much the same with mine.

Alicja, portrait

Her name is Alicja, 27 years old. She’s a chef in a place in Warwick. She came from Poland in order to get a job. As I understand her dream is to be a chef, maybe at more prestigious restaurants, but there is always that place you start from.

Work.Rest.Play

I explain a bit more about the concepts behind the artefacts here.

Digital Work

For digital work I have created a timelapse of myself working for the Digital Media module assignment. The images were shot over the period of 2 days and and overall 10 hours. [time] [framerate] This lapse documents the human interaction with the machine, which over this great period, the is a limited psychical activity of the human body. This document attempts to show the contemporary way of living, in an age of great technological advances.

Digital Rest

A lot of my spare time is spent in front of the screen, even after work is over. The fact that I might not change environment during different activities, suggest this environment is immersive and our dependance on these environments constitutes for many, their new habitat. Working and resting and playing and all over again and again in front of the machine (or should I say, in the machine) every single day.

I documented myself resting in a digital environment through still photography. This is a re-creation.

Digital Play

For this I have experimented with different digital processes to manipulate photographs and create animated gifs from google maps sequences. The manipulation process is called databending, where is the intentional glitching of a file to create unexpected results. The outcome is also called glitch art, although the word glitch actually means “a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or irregularity of equipment” a computer malfunction.

Process #1

I used a hex editor to open the image, then deleted or added hex values/ text interpretation of the code. Save, then did it again and again. I kept the non-broken files and made an animated gif in photoshop. Get the xvi32 hex editor here.

animated gif

click on the gif to watch in higher resolution (1k)

stills

Process #2

For the second process I downloaded Notepad++ editor, free and open source, which is just a really fancy text editor. I opened the image and added text I and CSS code. Ocassionally I deleted parts of the original code.

animated gif

click on the gif to watch in higher resolution (1k)

stills

____________________________________________________

animated gif

click on the gif to watch in higher resolution (1k)

stills

18810004_4a(web)

Process #3

For the last process I used a random string generator only consisted by numbers. Then I used Notepad++ and its Find and Replace feature and I selected a random value, D4 and converted all found in the code with the string 2721894225. I repeated with C7 – 6167500839, W3 – 8949960007, HD – 2147791464 and some mixes between them. I created an animated gif to showcase all the results.

animated gif

click on the gif to watch in higher resolution (1k)

stills

At this point I should mention that all the above photographs were 35mm film negatives (Kodak Ektar 100) scanned (JPEG) with a NORITSU KOKI QSS-32_33 lab at my local photography shop. The sitters are all my friends and the photographs have been taken during our summer holidays.

Google Maps

Living in the era of the Google Glass, an era that will be marked by the embedded technologies within humans, it makes me think if I want to become a cyborg or just human. One certain issue these advances will change is traveling (or I want to believe). Google has rolled out already their Grand Canyon mapping project, part of their World Wonders Project and works in the manner of their street view service. It won’t be long enough till others jump in the game of mapping using digital imagery and maybe virtual tours?

The obvious connection between cyborgs and virtual tours is their digital nature. Up until now we were in need of holidays and maybe some interaction with nature, to break the monotonous cityscape. If we were embedded with digital technologies, could it mean we will be in need of digital pleasures?

I have created 3 animated gifs with Google street view imagery. There are put together by a gif in their natural order to look like movement in space.

GIF 1

gm-st.pauls

click on the gif to watch in native resolution (1k+)

GIF2

waterloobridge_360

GIF3

The last images with the scan lines are not effects, but glitched images with ImageGlitcher. Try it here.

canyonglitch(300)

click on the gif to watch in native resolution (1k+)