HEROES IN THE HELL

Every day, in the depths of Kawah Ijen in East Java it is consumed the terrible battle between man and nature. Considered heroes by the local people, three hundred miners walk towards the hell, into the mouth of the volcano, to offer their contribution and placate the hunger of lava and blood of the fire Giant.

A feeble light illuminates the path, while the dark tries to swallow their lives. They have a coat of yellow smoke and faces covered to hide their suffering and protect themselves from the fumes of the sulfur mine. It 's a journey into the bowels of the despair.

The protagonists are dressed with rags and their lungs burnt from harmful gases. Only the lucky ones among them wear rubber boots and have gas masks, the others face the violent emissions of sulfur and the steep ascent, equipped only with wet scarves and slippery flip flops.

Every kilo transported to the Valley is weighed and paid 900 rupees / kg. The strongest are able to carry up to 100 kg at a time to earn 90.000 rupees for each descent (about USD 8 per load).

It is a work to the limit of human forces and possibilities. But they are the heroes of the Kawah Ijen and they feed on the dismayed gazes of those who consider them super-men, surrounded by a landscape of innatural beauty.

Every day, a new dawn illuminates the crystal clear lake in the deep end of the crater and every day the miners finish their shift, knowing that others will come after them in the eternal struggle for survival.

Written by Sarah Falchi - Photos by Paolo Castellari

A LIGHT IN HELL
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Image Title: A LIGHT IN HELL

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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THE GOLD OF IJEN
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Image Title: THE GOLD OF IJEN

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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BLUE GHOSTS
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Image Title: BLUE GHOSTS

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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NIGHT BEARER
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Image Title: NIGHT BEARER

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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STEAM FROM HELL
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Image Title: STEAM FROM HELL

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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MOVING MINER
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Image Title: MOVING MINER

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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MOON ON EARTH
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Image Title: MOON ON EARTH

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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INTO THE SMOKE
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Image Title: INTO THE SMOKE

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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DRILLING
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Image Title: DRILLING

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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THE YELLOW FOG
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Image Title: THE YELLOW FOG

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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BREATHLESS
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Image Title: BREATHLESS

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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SULFUR LAVA
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Image Title: SULFUR LAVA

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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SULFUR HERO
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Image Title: SULFUR HERO

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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A STRANGE LANDSCAPE
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Image Title: A STRANGE LANDSCAPE

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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LAVA FLOW
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Image Title: LAVA FLOW

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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BEARER ON THE ROCK
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Image Title: BEARER ON THE ROCK

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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TIRED SAD MINER
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Image Title: TIRED SAD MINER

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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A DOT IN THE VOLCANO
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Image Title: A DOT IN THE VOLCANO

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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THE OLD MINER
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Image Title: THE OLD MINER

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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THE STRAIN
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Image Title: THE STRAIN

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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THE SMOKING LAKE
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Image Title: THE SMOKING LAKE

Location: JAVA EAST - KAWAH IJEN

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