© Martin Holik
Volcán de Pacaya, an active volcano in Guatemala, trembled with its first eruption thousands years ago and it has erupted at least 23 times since the Spanish conquistadors started their chronicles. The volcano is a menace to the locals and it doesn’t want to surrender.
People got used to it; they worship it and hate it at the same time. They are not daunted by the scream of sirens announcing a new eruption and evacuation anymore. They pack their things and leave their homes; it’s been natural to them. They know that they will be back in a week or so. Their houses are guarded by a couple of guys with shot guns; they have no choice but to hope that their house will survive the eruption.
Men with shot guns, they are everywhere. The crime is generally high here. Is it the harsh life that makes people criminals? Maybe Pacaya plays its role in it? It always takes what the locals gain by hard work.
The most beautiful city in Guatemala is indisputably Antigua. But beauty is transitory. As it lies close to Pacaya and other 2 volcanoes, it is constantly in danger. You can see it in people – they are more careful. Or is it just my impression? Anyhow, all this area is magical in its own peculiar way.
I went up the volcano once. Horses from a nearby farm were running freely around me, while I was going uphill. On the way, locals have put a sign saying Zona de riesgo – Danger Zone. I have always thought I would see red lava on the top, but it wasn’t there. The silence was interrupted only by the hiss of gas escaping from the ground…
Martin Holik is a documentary photographer based in Olomouc, the Czech Republic. He has worked on projects in Albania, Palestine, Guatemala and other countries around the world. Martin is dedicated to documenting social issues. He has been photographing Roma people in Eastern Slovakia for a long time. His work has been published in many magazines and exhibitions around the world. In his projects Martin cooperates with non-profit organizations. He is one of the founding members of the photographic organization Noba.Collective. Martin is currently studying at the Institute of Creative Photography of the Silesian University.
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