Photographer Died for These Pictures of the Mount St. Helens Eruption

Historic event caught on film thanks to heroic last act

paul-ulaneby paul-ulane

When Mt. St. Helens erupted in May of 1980, photographer Robert Landsberg was there. Landsberg clearly loved his craft, because instead of running for his life, he stayed under the spreading ash cloud and kept clicking away. The results were spectacular, but what Landsberg did to save his shots was even more impressive.

After taking as many pictures as he could, Landsberg rewound the film in the camera, then packed everything up into his backpack. As his final act, the photographer used his body as a shield to protect the bag’s contents from the oncoming eruption.

Landsberg’s body was found 17 days later and his preservation tactics worked. The film was developed and geologists have used his pictures to study the historic incident. The eruption was the first major volcanic event since 1915 and the photos went on to appear in the January 1981 issue of National Geographic.

Via Petapixel