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NEA Sponsored Photography

On May 18, 1980, Mt. Saint Helens spewed lava and ash in the most devastating volcanic eruption in U.S. history. That same year, the Seattle Arts Commission (funded by the NEA) selected Emmet Gowin to photograph Washington State. One month after the eruption, Gowin received permission to enter the guarded “red zone” surrounding the volcano. He flew high above the still active volcano in a hired plane to document the varied patterns of ash and debris that redefined miles of land in the volcano’s vicinity.

© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York
© 1980, Emmet Gowin Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York