His new series, titled “Heat Maps,” and film, Incoming (2016), similarly tap into an ongoing conflict and harness uncommon technology in order to communicate attacks on humanity. The photographs and film stills debuted on February 2nd in New York; and the film makes its premiere at the Barbican in London on February 15th.
Mosse began working on the series three years ago, spurred by the growing urgency of the situation for refugees fleeing the Middle East and Northern Africa. “This has become one of the big subjects of our time,” Mosse says. But he has by no means been alone in the effort.
As the refugee crisis reached a fever pitch in 2015—with over a million individuals entering Europe—increasing numbers of photographers traveled to document the struggle. The resulting images have been instrumental in bringing transparency to the the often-squalid living conditions, violence, death, and human rights violations that individuals and families are experiencing within the camps—and raising awareness around the dire need for action on the part of governments across the world.
“It’s over-photographed,” Mosse admits, “so over-photographed that people stop seeing it on some level.” He recalls being in a swarm of some 60 photographers during his latest trip to Lesbos, including the likes of famed war photographer James Nachtwey. But despite this, Mosse has been able to add to the narrative, in a way people haven’t yet seen. Through technology, he has also gained access that others have been denied.
Mosse’s camera was developed by a multinational weapons and security contractor and has the capability to shoot sharp images from as far as 30.3 kilometers (18.8 miles) away. “It’s pretty insane,” says the artist, adding that by comparison, the human eye can see a maximum of around five kilometers at sea level. Importantly, when configured to Mosse’s specifications, the camera isn’t able to render distinguishing facial features that could detect a person’s identity, something that has proven useful in gaining permission to photograph camps like the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin where authorities are intent on maintaining refugees’ privacy.