Guns are one of the most contentious dialogues in the United States today. They have become wedges in elections, with the NRA defending their ‘rights' to semi-automatic weapons at all costs, and after a wave of shootings in the past year, the issue has mobilized mass student walkouts to demonstrate an increasing support for restrictions that will help keep them safe. Other countries, such as Australia in 1996, have demonstrated progressive overhauls of legislation in response to mass shootings, a move that is increasingly cited as something to consider adopting in the United States.
Being recognized as one of the world’s safest countries to live in, one would rarely expect Switzerland to sit alongside the United States with one of the highest rates of gun ownership per capita of any country. Switzerland’s legislation towards guns, while not totally unrestrictive, is relatively liberal yet there have been only three recorded mass shootings in recent history.
This premise is where English photographer Kris Kozlowski Moore's series and self-published photobook Forty Six Guns began, to engage in a varying and exceedingly broad discourse around the idiosyncrasies of Switzerland's gun culture. Black and white landscapes are juxtaposed against still life photographs of baseball mitts and sculptural gun range targets, while snowy mountaintops play off in situ portraits – it's not exactly what you might expect from a series called "Forty Six Guns." The work is airy and poetic, presenting an open-ended unraveling of Switzerland's little known, yet dominant gun culture.
While Humble stands firm in our support of gun control legislation, we're drawn to Kozlowski's meditative series on how guns can pervade a national identity. I had a conversation with Kris to learn more.
Jon Feinstein, in conversation with Kris Kozlowski Moore