David James Clark

My copy of Infra - Richard Mosse arrived today and i am thoroughly impressed by not just the images, but the simple essays accompanying a book that hasn’t been over designed but extremely well laid out; a welcome break from a large amount of photo books and zines in circulation currently.

The essay by Adam Hochschild, giving a brief history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and its colonisation offers some great conclusions to the series of images.  Its quite rare to see a book include an essay that is addressing the subject, rather than the photographs and critical theory.  To finish things off there is an afterword by Mosse himself.  This reads similar to a narration track on a movie, filling in the minor questions about the project.  Its quite well documented that Mosse used Kodak Aerochrome for the project and this acted as a space to discuss the other aspects of the film choice, without the banality of the technical side of it.

Under the dust jacket, the hardcover of the book depicts a re-imagining of the DRC flag.  The diagonal red has shifted to a magenta more alike the hues in the images, and the star has shifted from the left to the right.  I’d like to think these subtle changes are a reflection of Mosse’s thoughts about the project.

I’d appreciate seeing many more books like this.  Every diptych makes sense, every image size and position coherently ‘adds’ something.  On first thoughts, i didn’t agree with the opening photograph, but after looking again, after reading the texts, it made perfect sense.  There’s a small sequence of images i don’t particularly agree with in the book, but captions at the end of the book help, but its still problematic.

Highly recommend this book, not just to admire the project, but to study the book and understand how brilliant it is when there is a discourse between the format of the book, and the images within.

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