Curious Scene on a Volcano

Curious Scene on a Volcano

I ask ‘what on earth?’ because this photographer was only just on earth – on the top of Japan’s Mt Aso volcano, the biggest volcano in Japan and one of the largest in the world.

I took the picture back in the 1970s while travelling with my trusty Olympus OM1, loaded with Tri-X black and white film, on the southern island of Kyushu, following in the footsteps of the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Regarded as the father of modern photo-journalism, he captured a powerful picture of two men near the smoking rim of the volcano in 1965.

When I went there the volcano was pumping out so much ash visibility was down to just a few yards. I became lost in thick swirling white clouds on the mountain trail but then to my astonishment I came across this curious scene – a commercial photographer, protected from the billowing ash by a plastic poncho, waiting for tourists who might want their photo taken. As you can imagine, there appeared to be no-one on the mountain but the photographer and me. We nodded to one another, I took his picture, he didn’t take mine, and I made my way slowly back to ground level.

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