Monday, February 11, 2008

Richard Mosse and an old friend...


When I let my Phillips Explorer 8x10 go last year, it went to a young Irish photographer at Yale - Richard Mosse. After that, we had a good few email chats back and forth.

Over on BLDGBLOG today I saw a new portfolio of Richard's - Air Disaster. It's an interesting project and I don't know for certain, but I'd really like to think he made good use of my old camera for these...


From BLDGBLOG (take a look at the whole post there):

"I spotted my first air disaster simulator on the tarmac at JFK," Mosse wrote. "You can see it yourself next time you fly into that airport. It's an intimidating black oblong structure situated dangerously close to one of the runways. Ever since, I have hunted for air trainers while taxi-ing across each new airport that I've had the chance to fly into."...


...And each airport is different: "The fire crew at each airport had a very unique mantra," Mosse writes"



It's the anthropological micro-culture of the air disaster simulation crew, eating barbecued chicken and bitching about work.... ...

In any case, I asked Mosse what the general idea behind this project was, and he explained that, in all his work, he's been trying to show "the ways in which we perceive and consume catastrophe."
    The actual disaster is a moment of contingency and confusion. It's all over in milliseconds. It's hidden in a thick cloud of black smoke and you cannot even see it. Battles, ambushes, hijackings, air strikes, terrorism: it's the same with all of these, too. But the catastrophe lives on before the fact and after the fact, as this spectacle. That's why I wanted to photograph the air disaster simulators; they are the air disaster more than the thing itself. We have built in our airports these enormous, absurd, phallic structures with kerosene jets and water sprinklers. They are monuments to our own fear, made within the pared down, hyper-functional, green and black and grey symbolic order of militarized space".


    I like this kind of look at things that are in many ways taken for granted, but a little bit off to the side - a bit peripheral - and which often (the subjects themselves that is) embody all sorts layers of meaning about our society.

    BTW, there's plenty of other stuff to look at on his site.




    3 comments:

    Stan B. said...

    Seems it's in very good hands indeed...

    Richard Mosse said...

    Hi Tim
    Yes, these were all taken on your old Phillips Explorer. It is a superb camera, and weighs very little indeed. I don't hesitate to throw it into my backpack at a moment's notice, and will travel anywhere at all with it. I took it to Syria's border with Iraq over the Christmas. And I am flying to Arizona tomorrow to photograph along the Mexican border. They say February is the best month to catch illegal immigrants coming across the Sonoran Desert. I doubt I will catch any red-handed, and that's not really what I'm looking for. But I know that I will be doing a good deal of trekking on hazardous terrain, and will be able to bring that camera with me because it is exceptionally light. That sort of travel with an 8x10 inch camera is very unusual. I am hoping this will be reflected in the pictures. With all the recent talk about immigration, I believe we need to understand this story in new ways. We need to look a little closer at what's actually there.
    Anyway, I am delighted with your old camera. Many happy returns!
    Richard

    Ross said...

    Hey Richard.

    Its a small world. Im at the Tyrone Guthrie centre and was google-ing Oscar Wildes preface of Dorian Grey because, well, its good. I came across you on the same site.

    I hope all is well. I only have your Yale email and I thinks you left, so give us a email if you get this.

    Frozen Margarita.
    Ross