There is one obvious component here. The burning furnace of fire sprawling its arms to the higher ground. With no source, no culprit, the scene springs from nothing, with no context to understand. When coming across the image through unpredicted posts online it is very hard to scroll past, even in today's throw away culture. Unlike a lot of things we can see, process and forget about, there is something here that makes us stop for a bit.
It is the same feeling you get when you pass a place on public transport but there is no designated stop. It fills your stomach up with an I don't know what. For yes, it is fire, and yes it is naturally impressive, but it is the ability to be at the right place at the right time. If we consider life's movements, moments and hysteria it is almost impossible to freeze a subject like this without the use of a camera. It is as majestic as the Rocky freeze frame, as mighty as a falling tree and as mystifying as red smoke in the midst of the unfathomable. We have taken nature for granted and this photograph proves it.
Through living our busy lives we rarely notice the little things, yet the big things are found in smaller places. Not in size, but in population. Through observing the quiet parts of the land we spot the spectacular by placing ourselves in unique positions. It is like getting up at 6 in the morning instead of 10.
It would not be right if I did a visual drooling over the warm green tones that radiate from the burning fire onto the astounding sky. It creates, quite literally, a smoke a mirrors to a scene that might have felt or seemed different in person. We cannot feel the heat from this photograph, instead the intense colours are drawing us nearer and nearer to the point where we look right up close to what would be a print. We become, strangely, fearless. But we are not brave, and neither is Jamie. Instead we observe the might of nature but we do not bow down to its obvious destruction. A host of feelings come from this position. What happened after this moment? Is this a human cause? Did this end well?
We are given no answers but the present is the only thing present in the photograph.
It speaks volumes about what beauty is, and it is not always positive. The scene is horrific but intensely beautiful. And like a miniature napalm bomb, there is a sense of containment and control. The smoke behind effortlessly forms as part of a chemical reaction to, well, something. There is nothing spectacular here, in natures eyes at least. The main reason, perhaps that this photographs evokes such a reaction is because we are smaller than nature. The land around us will always swallow us whole, it will always outlive us. It cements human beings as a passing in nature's grander course. It is always in control. Without the ground we walk on, we have nothing to build on, live on and enjoy. Sometimes it is natures self destruction that makes us consider if it even wants us here in the first place - for we cannot withstand its immense pressures. Merely contain it temporarily. It cements our place as visitors to a higher being, the ground itself. We, as humans are merely passing the time until we destroy ourselves and nature can continue to create new phenomenons. Our insignificance in this scenario is overwhelming.
And as a photograph that doesn't need to belong to a series, the artist, the photographer, understands their position of a spectator to a greater occurrence. It is effortless, but the subject does the work. It is the photographer's role to contain it temporarily to form documentation of a happening we have no control over. The photographer is merely an observer here, but his dedication to find such locations becomes the imperative skill to make this photograph even exist. A photograph that throws our existence into question.
For what we might see as just.. fire, becomes so much more, but does not pretend to be anything more than a photograph of fire. The reason why it is astounding is not something that can quite come to words.