Few would brave getting this close to an erupting volcano. If the German photographer Martin Rietze – who produced this astounding series of photographs of an exploding volcano in southern Kyushu, Japan – was even a little bit frightened when he captured these, his photos don’t betray him. There’s an audacity inherent to each of Rietze’s photos (which we discovered at My Modern Met), in the lush plumes of pink, gray, and purple smoke, the volcano’s sparkling jets of lava, and the flashes of lightning that crackle at their top. His photos offer a way of looking at a natural disaster that could create phenomenal danger but is also, for all the harm it might reap, overwhelmingly beautiful to watch. Perhaps looking at Rietze’s photos invokes the same kind of relationship to the volcano – a unique mixture of awe, wonder and fear – the photographer felt himself, standing before the thing itself.