La Palma

A personal project by Jonathan Browning

Paradise to ashes

A blanket of black stretches across the landscape, punctuated only by fleeting glimpses of white, blue, and green. This is the new reality for an a large area on the South West of La Palma, two years after a volcanic eruption wreaked havoc. In January 2024 I travelled into this transformed landscape to see how the current situation is. . At the time of the eruption, the internet was awash with the red molten lava photos that are synonymous with any volcanic eruption.  But what is it like after the lava has cooled, the toxic gases are spent and it’s finally deemed safe to return. 

When this idyllic corner of La Palma, a northwestern Canary Island, was being developed, green, blue, and white were the colors that dominated the dreams of hundreds of foreign homeowners,   Back then, the Cumbre Vieja volcano group (18 kilometers long and boasting a staggering 120 active volcanoes) was simply a majestic backdrop for sun seekers. The eruption of Cumbre Vieja began on September 19th, 2021, raging for 85 days until December 13th. It was the largest and longest eruption ever recorded on La Palma. In some places, the lava flow stretched a staggering 3 kilometers wide and 6 kilometers long, burying over 3,000 houses and the whole town of Todoque. The unforgiving lava severed the coastal road and even gifted La Palma with a new, 25-football-field-sized, pitch-black peninsula. While there were thankfully no casualties, countless dream homes were lost and for many the option to rebuild is out of the question. 
© Jonathan Browning
As recently featured in De Volkskrant

AOP Photography Awards

The AOP Photography Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ of the photography world. They celebrate excellence in the creative photography and image-making industry.
This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry.
Enter our 39th AOP Awards…