Death by Fire and Ash

Uploaded 1 Dec 2010 — 22 favorites
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© Deborah Downes
Views 193
Likes 0
Favorites 21
Comments 26
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More of Deborah Downes’s Photos

  • Looking Back
  • Death by Fire and Ash
  • Numbered Findings
  • Pompeii Amphorae
Photo Info
UploadedDecember 1, 2010
TakenOctober 31, 2010
MakeNikon Corporation
Exposure1/30 sec at f/5.6
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length52 mm

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Q: Story of the week

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved

In 1860 archeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli devised a method of producing “casts” by pouring liquid into cavities formed by lava and ash covering objects, animals, and people in the ancient city of Pompeii, following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. I was horrified, but couldn’t look away from this cast of a boy when he died thousands of years ago. I find this scene painfully eloquent. I captured it with the hope of saying this boy existed; this boy mattered.

26 responses

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Incredible story...very poignant and sad, he exists again because of you

  • Patty Gross

    Patty Gross (Deleted) gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Very beautiful reminder that all persons who once were alive as we are now, DID exist and they DID matter. Wonderful reminder for all of us, and a fantastic capture of the child who once walked this earth. Great job, Deborah!!!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Wonderful narrative, poignant image. Our daughter, Elizabeth, who lived in Rome (2001-05) had the same reaction.

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Well stated and well-captured!!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    A most excellent entry.

  • Maria Mutch

    Maria Mutch (Deleted) gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Very powerful; the red is an important element here, also. The subtle tones of the foreground pieces are just incredible.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (1 Dec 2010):


  • Mag TY

    Mag TY gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    Totally agree with this - just went by the "Pompeii" exhibition at Singapore National Museum & they had the same exhibit there as well (

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (2 Dec 2010):

    Very intense entry,,thank you for sharing Deborah,,

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (4 Dec 2010):

    This touches my heart in a powerful way more than anyone could know...after losing my youngest brother, who was five years old in 1951 from the results of his burns and damage to his lungs when our families house burned to the ground...It is the most painful kind of death...My last memory of seeing him alive was in seeing his face charred beyond recognition...I was 7 years old but it will be stamped in my memory forever.

  • Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller (Deleted) gave props (5 Dec 2010):

    Those pompeii castings are erie to say the least. A poignant photo Deborah.

  • Andrew Lorimer

    Andrew Lorimer (Deleted) gave props (5 Dec 2010):

    perfect entry for the theme , well done Deborah !!

  • Joy B

    Joy B gave props (5 Dec 2010):

    Saw the Pompeii exhibit in Charlotte a few years ago. It was powerful land very surreal.

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt gave props (5 Dec 2010):

    So sad that he was trying to keep the ash away from his face! It must have been horrifying!

  • Cindy Griff

    Cindy Griff said (6 Dec 2010):

    Sad piece of history, thankyou for making this boy's life and death matter to us all!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (6 Dec 2010):


  • Allen Freeman

    Allen Freeman gave props (7 Dec 2010):


  • Annalise Chiarelli

    Annalise Chiarelli gave props (9 Dec 2010):

    I recently studied art of Pompeii, and this photo just moves me incredibly. It makes the story come to life

  • Al Gieryna

    Al Gieryna gave props (11 Dec 2010):

    An amazing still life, stellar shot!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (11 Dec 2010):

    WOW! This is so chilling!! Thank you for sharing his story!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (12 Dec 2010):

    We have been planning a visit here for so long, your wonderful shots have moved it to the top of my long list of plces to see :o)

  • Alexis - Now on Flickr

    Alexis - Now on Flickr gave props (15 Dec 2010):

    A very poignant image, even more so because of his bric-a-brac (ancient and valuable as they are) surroundings

  • Kim Bullock

    Kim Bullock said (17 Dec 2010):

    Very haunting!

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (17 Dec 2010):

    A wonderfully preserved image of a "boy who mattered". I love your text on this great and touching shot, Deb.

  • Brad Hayne

    Brad Hayne said (19 Dec 2010):

    Powerful image.

  • MindTheStep

    MindTheStep gave props (27 Oct 2011):

    Wonderful shot, indeed!

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