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Volcano. Crater of Popocatepetl
© Courtesy of Richard and John Buckham.

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Volcano. Crater of Popocatepetl About 1930

Not on display

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.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


A group of art works, by one or more artists, issued or housed together in a portfolio case. This often applies to photographs or prints, and portfolios often include a title page or introductory text. The term is also used to describe a group of works which exemplify an artist's work overall.

Commission, Portfolio


  • Acc. No. PGP 197.2
  • Medium Silver gelatine print
  • Size 46.00 x 38.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund 2008