As the East Coast continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy, we are regularly reminded of the immense powers that nature can have on our modern world. When photographer Mats Petersson had the chance to witness one of these natural elements at work–a controlled forest fire–he couldn’t resist the opportunity to document such a rare occasion. He says, “For me, fire evokes complex questions about our origins, the power of nature, and the future of our planet.”
Firewatch is a series that documents Petersson’s experiences with nature’s strength. Using his trusty Hassleblad camera, the artist followed forest rangers through blazing wildlife as the raw, destructive forces of fire consumed the land. The bright lights and heat from the flames, combined with the smoky smell of burning wood, created what Petersson described as “a surreal environment,” and he says, “I was under a spell shooting these images.” Through this courage and curiosity, Petersson explored an event that we (thankfully) don’t see everyday. In these stunning landscapes, he reveals to his viewers a vibrant new world in which the dark blacks of a crisped forest are set against the bright oranges and reds of the scorching flames.