2011 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 3rd prize

Living in the Shadow of Mount Bromo’s Wrath

Photographer

Christophe Archambault

24 December, 2010

Mount Bromo volcano, a popular tourist attraction in East Java, Indonesia, began to show signs of activity in November, with a major eruption on 19 December spewing stones and ash 2,000 meters into the air.

About

Christophe Archambault

Born in France in 1970, Christophe Archambault studied geography at university. He began his career as a freelance photographer working for French magazines on various stories fo...

Background story

Cemoro Lawang, Indonesia

A man smokes outdoors in Cemoro Lawang, which is the main tourist access point to Mount Bromo and was badly affected by the eruption. Mount Bromo volcano, a popular tourist attraction in East Java, Indonesia, began to show signs of activity in November, with a major eruption on 19 December spewing stones and ash 2,000 meters into the air.

Photo credit:
Agence France-Presse

Christophe Archambault speaks about the project:
"I shot those pictures while on a year-end break in Indonesia, chasing Java island's striking volcanoes, that took me from the Merapi volcano which also erupted in 2010 in central Java to the sulfur-emitting Kawa Ijen volcano at the eastern tip of the island via the Bromo caldera. I have always been attracted by the nature's wonders and powers and ended up quite close to the ash-spitting Bromo crater on that day of December 2010.


Though I was not on assignment in the region, I filed my pictures right away on the day they were shot, all impressed by the Mount Bromo's striking landscape and the sheer strength of its eruption. The ground was rumbling, it was raining ash ... when I saw those (mainly unprotected) Hindu devotees making their way to the crater to make offerings. I decided to follow those fearless people almost up to the crater, but cut short my ascent when rather than ash falling around, I started to see blocks of several kilos being shot high into the air and falling randomly around us. I then pulled out from the no-go zone and returned to the nearby village of Cemoro Lawang, overlooking the entire caldera, where I shot those scenes of what had become the very particular daily life of the local people, de-ashing their roofs or going for some road-clearing work."
 

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