The Loving Warrior

Popcatapetl repeatedly erupted many centuries before European invasions. Those large eruptions produced giant mudflows that even buried entire pyramids and complete Azteque settlements and destroyed at least three major cones. Up till today, it is Mexico‘s most active volcano. After almost 50 years of dormancy, „Popo“ came back to life in 1994 and has since then been producing powerful explosions at irregular intervals.

To photograph Popcatapetl and its twin Iztaccihuatl from above I had planned to take a helicopter. An ongoing eruption prevented me from doing so.

Old myths surround the twins. I like the one rendered by ancient Náhuas – a tragic love story. It comes from an oral tradition with many versions, told along with poems and songs.

The are 8 pictures in the project: ‚The Loving Warrior‘.

They are black and white and colour.

I took the photographs with two identical analogue cameras and lenses from the 70s and used films, where the durability had expired over 20 years ago. The slight damage of the pictures stemming from this equipment is fully intended.

The pictures are framed and printed on matte Hahnemühlen Photo Rag Fine Art photo paper, which is slightly uneven and slightly tinted.

They come in sizes of 60 x 40 cm.

All works are edition 3 + 1 AP
For the story of „The Loving Warrior“ see below
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The story of „The Loving Warrior“

Many centuries ago the chief of the Aztecs was a famous Emperor, who was loved by all the natives. The Emperor and his wife were very worried because they had no children. One day the Empress said to the Emperor she was going to have a child. A baby girl was born and she was as beautiful as her mother. They called her Iztaccíhuatl, which means „white lady“.

All the natives loved Izta and her parents prepared her to be the Empress of the Aztecs. When she grew up, she fell in love with a captain of a tribe, his name was Popoca. He returned her love.

One day, a war broke out and the warrior had to go to fight the enemy. Before he left, the Emperor told Popoca, he had to bring back the head of the enemy chief if he wanted to marry his daughter.

After several months of combat, a warrior who hated Popoca sent a false message to the Emperor. The message said that his army had won the war, but that Popoca had died. The Emperor was very sad, Izta, too, could not stop crying. She refused to go out and did not eat anymore. A few days later, she became ill and eventually died of sadness. The Emperor and his wife were inconsolable.

When the Emperor was preparing Izta‘s funeral, Popoca and his warriors arrived victorious from war. The Emperor was taken aback when he saw Popoca and told him that other warriors had announced his death. Then he told him that Izta had died. Popoca couldn‘t believe the awful news and suffered for several days and nights before he made the decision to build the greatest tomb on earth. He carried his love in his arms and took her to the top of a high mountain. He kissed her lips for the last time and in the light of a smoking torch, he fell on his knees in front of her. He looked at her and imagined all of the lost years and events, which could have occurred for them. He sat until snow covered their bodies.

The Gods were touched by Popoca‘s sacrifice and turned the bodies into volcanoes. The bigger one being Popocatépetl – the „smoking mountain“, the smaller one, Izta, sleeping calmly by his side. Every time the great warrior Popocatepetl remembers his beloved his heart starts beating faster. His passion causes the volcano to erupt. Then he spews smoke showing that he is still watching over Iztaccíhuatl. Eternally.