Beauty is the Sharpest Tool in the Box

Our radar is always out hunting for inspiration, whether it’s from a supermarket, shop or a theatre show, an ad on the tube or a trip abroad. Recently an exhibition of Richard Mosse’s arresting photographs of the Congo caught our eye.

He uses discontinued military film that picks up the infrared reflected by the chlorophyll in plants and processes it as electric pinks, to incredible effect. His words below got us thinking about how we approach representation, and how colour can have such an emotional impact on the viewer.


“Beauty is the sharpest tool in the box.If you portray something that derives from human suffering with beauty it creates an ethical dilemma in the viewer’s mind, so they’re confused and disoriented. Which is great because it means you’ve got them to think about the act of perception.

With the Congolese photos I’m not even doing it with beauty, I’m doing it with the colour pink. People are offended by the colour pink! But honestly how much more constructed are they than black and white photos.”

For more of his interview watch here 

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