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Buzzy Sullivan

Mount St. Helens: Catastrophe and Renewal, 40 Years On

Upon the 40th anniversary of the most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history, photographer Buzzy Sullivan presents a series of photographs documenting the destruction, rebirth, and growth of Mount St. Helens.

May 18 - Jul 31, 2020

Originally scheduled for exhibition at Appaloosa Public Gallery from May 1 – July 31, 2020, the physical exhibition of this work has been restricted due to COVID-19-related closures of Scottsdale public libraries.

Upon the 40th anniversary of the most destructive volcanic eruption in U.S. history, photographer Buzzy Sullivan presents a series of photographs documenting the destruction, rebirth, and growth of Mount St. Helens.

In this especially poignant moment in human history, Sullivan’s photographs documenting the destruction and renewal of the Mount St. Helens landscape in Washington state remind us of the tenacity of nature. Sullivan is a landscape photographer who has been given yearly, exclusive summertime access to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to document its recovery from the 1980 eruption. He reflects on the significance of recovering from catastrophe in the Pacific Northwest—both at Mount St. Helens and in his own life.

At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Skamania County, Washington, removed 1,300 feet off the top of the volcano, sending pyroclastic flows across the landscape and flattening forests. The heat melted snow and ice, generating massive mudflows. The disaster killed 57 people, thousands of animals, and millions of fish. It destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged more than 185 miles of roads and 15 miles of railways. About 540 million tons of volcanic ash fell over thousands of miles, settling in more than a dozen U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Sullivan has returned to the site every summer for the last 20 years with exclusive access to the park, photographing how the land and wildlife have healed and rebounded over the years.

Sullivan received a bachelor of fine arts in photography from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2013 and a master of fine arts in photography from Arizona State University in 2017. He teaches photography at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. For more about the artist, visit BuzzySullivan.com.


Selected for Exhibition

 


 

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