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A potentially catastrophic food crisis in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa could affect as many as one million children. The food and nutrition crisis resulting from a severe drought, threatens the survival of an entire generation of children. Those children in eight countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal - are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. Sparse rainfall, poor harvests and rising food prices have left many vulnerable and weak, seeking medical attention. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where children already face daunting odds of survival. The current crisis makes their survival even more tenuous. Associated Press photographer, Ben Curtis, documented the conditions in the region. -- Paula Nelson (EDITORS NOTE: We will not be posting Monday, May 14) (32 photos total)
A woman carries her child amidst dusty winds in the desert near Mondo, a village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under the age of 5 in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year, with an estimated 1 million expected throughout the wider Sahel region of West and Central Africa in the countries of Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Mauritania. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

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The locations are the battlefields of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The images are made with the Cold War-era satellite film Aerochrome, a discontinued Kodak infared color film originally designed for reconnaissance and camouflage detection. The film sees normal foliage as magenta or red, showing camouflage as purple or blue. In the vivid pages of Infra, the question of objectivity is moot, as we are invited to appreciate a metaphor stretched to its limit. Our personal experience “colors” all that we see, and making us imperfect observers and less-than-neutral witnesses.

Photographer Richard Mosse writes: “My work is not a performance of the ethical. I’m concerned less with conscience than with consciousness. And so I became enthralled by Aerochrome’s inflation of the documentary, mediating a tragic landscape through an invisible spectrum, disorienting me into a place of reflexivity and skepticism, into a place in consonance with my impenetrable, ghost-like subject.” With this new book from Aperture, Mr. Mosse ventures into territory typically covered by photojournalists or “war photographers.” In doing so, he joins ranks with a small group of fine-art photographers who have made similar forays—this time adding a new layer of dissonance to painful photographs of the mutilated, prisoners, and child soldiers.

All images and captions by Richard Mosse


Men of Good Fortune, 2011. Tutsi Pastureland near Mushaki, Masisi Territory, North Kivu.


General Février, 2010. CNDP rebel on day of integration into FARDC, near Mushaki, Masisi Territory, North Kivu.


Colonel Soleil’s Boys, 2010. CNDP rebels being integrated into the Congolese national army, the FARDC, at Mushaki, Masisi Territory, North Kivu.


Rebel Rebel, 2011. Young APCLS rebel, Lukweti to Pinga Road, Masisi Territory, North Kivu. Photographer’s own sunglasses.


Nowhere To Run, 2010. The mountains of South Kivu are home to a large population of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, a Hutu paramilitary group that has lived in exile in Congo since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. These hills are also rich in rare minerals like gold, cassiterite, and coltan, which are extracted by artisanal miners who must pay taxes to the rebels.

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