Between 1730 and 1736, the Spanish island of Lanzarote was rocked by a series of volcanic eruptions. Joseph Wright’s Fire Mountains project reimagines this period of extreme hardship for the island’s people by blending original photography with historical accounts of the disaster.
Wright shot his images on location over several years, seeking to capture the geological elements he encountered, alongside the spirit of the place he sensed.
His story is told over two chapters, Elements and Spirits, which reference two key sources: a document from the Town Hall in Lanzarote dated 17 October 1730 and addressed to the President and Judges of the Royal Representatives; and a 19th century book by the German geologist Leopold Buch, who summarised original eye witness accounts of the disaster.
‘Fire Mountains’ is presented as a pair of photobooks published by JW Editions in both standard and limited-edition form.
Joseph Wright lives in Purton, a small village on the outskirts of Swindon. He has spent much of his life living and working in semi-rural locations. His artistic work includes photography and book making. In 2017 he had a major solo exhibition in Cumbria supported by Forest Artworks, an arts-based funding collaboration between the Arts Council and Forestry Commission. He has exhibited in Nottingham, London and Birmingham as part of group shows with the Inside the Outside collective. As well as had work shown internationally in the contemporary photography award Fotofilmic which has toured Los Angeles, Vancouver and Melbourne.