When I let my Phillips Explorer 8x10 go last year, it went to a young Irish photographer at Yale - Richard Mosse. After that, we had a good few email chats back and forth.
Over on BLDGBLOG today I saw a new portfolio of Richard's - Air Disaster. It's an interesting project and I don't know for certain, but I'd really like to think he made good use of my old camera for these...
From BLDGBLOG (take a look at the whole post there):
"I spotted my first air disaster simulator on the tarmac at JFK," Mosse wrote. "You can see it yourself next time you fly into that airport. It's an intimidating black oblong structure situated dangerously close to one of the runways. Ever since, I have hunted for air trainers while taxi-ing across each new airport that I've had the chance to fly into."...
...And each airport is different: "The fire crew at each airport had a very unique mantra," Mosse writes"
It's the anthropological micro-culture of the air disaster simulation crew, eating barbecued chicken and bitching about work.... ...
In any case, I asked Mosse what the general idea behind this project was, and he explained that, in all his work, he's been trying to show "the ways in which we perceive and consume catastrophe."
The actual disaster is a moment of contingency and confusion. It's all over in milliseconds. It's hidden in a thick cloud of black smoke and you cannot even see it. Battles, ambushes, hijackings, air strikes, terrorism: it's the same with all of these, too. But the catastrophe lives on before the fact and after the fact, as this spectacle. That's why I wanted to photograph the air disaster simulators; they are the air disaster more than the thing itself. We have built in our airports these enormous, absurd, phallic structures with kerosene jets and water sprinklers. They are monuments to our own fear, made within the pared down, hyper-functional, green and black and grey symbolic order of militarized space".
I like this kind of look at things that are in many ways taken for granted, but a little bit off to the side - a bit peripheral - and which often (the subjects themselves that is) embody all sorts layers of meaning about our society.
BTW, there's plenty of other stuff to look at on his site.