Italian photographer Andrea Frazzetta has traveled all over the world, visiting over 50 countries in Africa, South America, the Mediterranean, and Asia armed with his camera. His personal photo series – which he aptly calls “stories” – display faraway lands in beautiful detail. But the human characters always remain in focus. Frazzetta’s latest series, Danakil, follows the same pattern.
The Danakil Depression sits close to the border between Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti – the meeting point of three tectonic plates. It’s the hottest place on Earth. The area features active volcanoes, lava flowing five kilometers beneath the salt desert, as well as sulfur springs. This is also the place where the 3.2 million-years-old Lucy was found in 1974. Andrea Frazzetta captures the spectacular beauty of this primordial setting, adding a human element to the mix.
The images show the daily lives of the Afar people – nomads who work and survive in a harsh and unforgiving land. Workers break away slabs of salt while enduring close to unbearable temperatures. Across the salt plains of Assal, caravans of mules and camels carry the salt blocks to market. Mud huts await for the next traveling workers. Portraits show weariness as well as determination. Two friends meet by accident in the desert, their dance of happiness captured against a bright backdrop, with only a thin line on the horizon marking the border between the white plains and the almost white sky. A guide looks away as in the background tourists snap their Instagram photos close to the nearby volcano. The Donakil series has received several awards, including a Gold Medal award in the Feature Story Category from the Society of Publication Designers. Photographs© Andrea Frazzetta / INSTITUTE