February 16, 2016

The Devil's Gold

Photograph by Maciej Dakowicz, National Geographic Your Shot

Your Shot member Maciej Dakowicz had always wanted to see Kawah Ijen in Indonesia and made sure to find his way to the crater on his first visit to the country, despite the arduous path to get there: a two-hour uphill hike, followed by 45 minutes of trekking down into the crater. Although only at the crater on Java Island for a few hours, Dakowicz had "a very memorable day." He watched miners go up and down the crater, doing the dangerous job of carrying heavy baskets of sulfur, sometimes called devil's gold. Every day, 300 or so miners make the two-mile climb to the top of the volcano and haul out 150 to 200 pounds of sulfur at a time.

Dakowicz’s shot was recently featured in the Daily Dozen.

This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our storytelling community where members can take part in photo assignments, get expert feedback, be published, and more. Join now >>

11 comments
Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw

The man bowed under the weight of his load and his lot in life, the sinewed hand, the noxious fumes in a poisoned landscape. A striking image of what is reality for so many.

Stu Lavitt
Stu Lavitt

Wonderful pic still lots of hardship to put food on the table and yet it is 2016 so in some ways we have made no advancement at all still live like ancient times

emad alzyoud
emad alzyoud

It is true that the world has changed, but in many ways it remains the same as seventy years ago. Hate still exists. Bigotry can be manipulated .  


Kevin K.
Kevin K.

Also, the healh concerns associated with inhaling the sulphur fumes. I also saw the documentry and the crew filming had to wear breathing masks and said the heat was incredable.!

Cathy Gauthier
Cathy Gauthier

I remember watching a documentary on this a long time ago.  A horrible existence and way of life but shows you the strength of character of these men to carry on for a meager paycheck.  Excellent photo!

Ellen Powell
Ellen Powell

You forgot to mention how little those men got paid to do that job.

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