Richard Mosse's Urgent Warning About the Destruction of the Amazon Rainforest
"Broken Spectre" is an immersive, 74-minute film by photographer Richard Mosse that aims to raise awareness about the devastating destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Mosse and his team spent years documenting different fronts of destruction, degradation, and environmental crimes in the Amazon Basin and related ecosystems.
The film employs a variety of photographic techniques, including inky, fluorescent microscopic imagery, cinematic monochrome infrared scenes, and airborne multispectral footage, to show the scale and urgency of the destruction. The film also highlights the perspectives of the Yanomami and Munduruku Indigenous communities fighting for survival, as well as illegal gold miners and Brazilian cowboys who are contributing to the destruction. The film was created from 2018 to 2022 and was released ahead of general elections in Brazil.
In addition to the film, Mosse also created accompanying photographic works that further highlight the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. He uses multispectral cameras that emulate satellite imaging technology to capture images that reveal the impact of human activities on the environment. He also uses ultraviolet botanical studies to show the effects of the destruction on the flora of the rainforest, and heat-sensitive analogue film that has been degraded by the oppressive environment and burning forest. To further emphasize the scale and extent of the destruction, Mosse also created hypnotically vivid aerial maps that utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) imaging technology. These maps zoom out and colorize the natural decimation in great detail, making it impossible to ignore the dire reality of the situation. Mosse's work is a powerful reminder of the urgent need to take action to protect the Amazon rainforest and our planet.
Broken Spectre has been released as a book by Loose Joints. The film is currently on view at 180 Studios in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and will open at the Converge 45 Biennial in Portland in August 2023.