About this artwork

This surreal and somewhat beautiful photograph features one of Mexico’s active volcanoes, Popocatepetl. Buckham describes the journey of the flight as his aeroplane turned down into the crater: “Almost at once the aeroplane dropped about two hundred feet... Beneath us the circular lake of boiling lava emitted numerous spouts of smoke and steam, whilst round its edge played occasional fires which, suddenly springing up and flickering awhile, as suddenly disappeared.” Breaking through the clouds, the sunlight highlights the jagged, snow-covered edge of the crater as smoke billows over the rim like a boiling saucepan. In 1930 Buckham was commissioned by 'Fortune' magazine to produce a portfolio of aerial photographs of his chosen area of the Americas, this photograph is part of that series.

Alfred G. Buckham

Alfred G. Buckham