East of Heart

Me quemaste

I happened upon this firefighting ambulance that had caught fire on my way home this afternoon. It looked like the flames had just begun to take over, with the melting insides cracking and exploding menacingly as more and more smoke bellowed out and the van slowly kept rolling forward. The escaped driver was walking ahead, coughing and talking loudly on his cellphone. He appeared to be recovering from minor burns. I still have no idea how it started. I kept my distance thinking the vehicle was about to explode, but local residents valiantly burst out to assault the flames with extinguishers, pales of water and shovel loads of dirt. After 40 shots on my point and shoot, I rushed home to e-mail my pictures to the newspapers but no one ever wrote me back interested.

These images are more processed than what I usually post but I am hoping to integrate more experimental / experiential images like these into the blog in the future instead of keeping them for my secret Tumblr page. 7 days left in the capital with my research project finally somewhat well defined, and no thanks to my always too-busy Swedish supervisor! I saw David Fincher’s version of Män som hatar kvinnor two nights ago and have to admit that Daniel Craig makes for a cool Mikael Blomkvist. The film made me want to be running through Slussen every day again. Soon, but I first have to run through to Brazil.

Update – The informal editors here at the jato (Peruvian slang for house) are saying I should have posted these images in colour. We’ve concluded that colour makes them more informative (you can see the impressive flames) but black and white is visually more interesting. This screenshot makes them comparable. What do you think?


  1. PhilipJ wrote:

    I prefer the monochromes, but the flames stand out far better in colour, so I can see why a news outlet might prefer the colour versions. Conversely, however, I find the smoke looks more compelling in the monochrome treatment. From a news outlet’s perspective, though, they could make the images monochrome if they wanted, so colour is likely always preferable.

    Can I get a (via email) link to your secret Tumblr?

  2. Falco wrote:

    We share the same opinion – what made these pictures interesting to me was the smoke with dark shapes in front (aside from what’s happening, an ambulance on fire and possibly about to explode). It’s also unusual to see pictures of fire in black and white these days. I’ll send over the tumblr blog, though it doesn’t contain more than 5-10 images: I can’t seem to relax my creative eye enough to use my camera for more than documenting aesthetically. Perhaps I should just start with the goal of documenting or capturing a feeling and then see what happens. What’s coming off of your sensor these days?

  3. PhilipJ wrote:

    I’m trying to get a little less shy about street photography, but I’m admittedly not dedicating much time to the endeavour. As such, I usually focus on inanimate urban curiosities, and almost always with exceedingly wide open apertures. The 50mm f/1.2 AI-s NIKKOR has been on the camera a lot recently.

    Alexei showed me lots of the Peru photos, some real stunning landscapes in the bunch. I feel like that’s an avenue I’d also enjoy pursuing, but I’d need to get out of Toronto for that to happen. I might set aside some time to roam around Newfoundland when I’m back there next for just that.