April 24, 2015

Congrats to the Calbuco Volcano, Crashing the Weekly Menu of Disaster Entertainment

We don’t love the photos of the Calbuco Volcano because the eruption reminds us of a Yellowstone geyser, a giant 4-H winning cauliflower or the perfect backdrop for the monotonous subdivision. We love them because of how they pick up the cadence of the intense violence and all forms of apocalypse being pumped out by Hollywood and (fiction and non-fiction) television. In this case, we can imagine somebody detonated a nuke with the underlying assurance that the pics from South Chile — consistent with the daily bombardment of of sensational news imagery — are just part of the show.

Then, there are the night photos that not only depict the plumes, but also captures what looks like electrical activity. I thought this shot was fascinating for the way news photography seems to draw so openly on and from other genres these days, in this case, Sci-Fi. You do see the black astral figure in the helmet with the stars for eyes shooting the lightening out of its torso to pacify the fire phantasm, right? But, please don’t ask me how the lower eighth relates to the rest of the photo. I think it has something to do with the space-time continuum.

(photo 1: Alex Vidal/EPA. caption: The Calbuco volcano, as seen from Puerto Montt, Chile. photo 2: David Cortes Serey/Agencia Uno/AP. caption: The Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas in Chile on Thursday. The volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in more than 42 years.)

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Michael Shaw
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