PHOTOGRAPHER DEMIAN BARRIOS IS ON A MISSION TO USE HIS ART FOR GOOD ON THE BIG ISLAND
Demian Barrios got his first camera at 7 years old. Behind the lens of a 35mm film camera, he became obsessed with capturing the magic of the natural world - fleeting but powerful moments when he just happened to be at the right spot, at the right time.
Fast forward to May, 3rd, 2018. Grown up with a much bigger camera, Demian found himself at the right place at the right time - on top of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano during one of it’s most historic and destructive eruptions in modern history. On the ground for the first fissure eruption in Leilani Estates, Demian documented the flow as it consumed hundreds of homes in both Leilani Estates and Kapoho, where the lava continues to flow into the Pacific Ocean.
While documenting the ongoing volcanic activity, Demian has kept in close touch with those displaced by the lava, many of whom he knows personally. Hundreds of Puna residents have lost everything - homes, farmland, and businesses that made the fabric of a vibrant community. To help those in need, Demian recently launched the Lava Ohana Relief Fund. He is donating a percentage from the sale of each photo print - from a special collection of his work - to nine families. The proceeds will be directly distributed between the nine families to help them start over. Those who wish to donate can see photos and read each Ohana’s story on Demian’s website.
If you have the opportunity to speak to Demian about his work, it’s clear that his entire heart and soul goes into it. As many creative, passion-driven professionals know, this can be a serious leap of faith. Sometimes, the Universe, or whatever you prefer to call it, gives us a powerful push onto our path. For Demian, this came in the form of the sudden death of his long-time friend and fellow lava chaser photographer, Sean King, who passed away in February. The pair had recently spent time on top of Mauna Loa to photograph the lunar eclipse on January 31st, where they talked all night about their passion for photography.
For other creative professionals out there who are afraid to take the leap, Demian says that the most important thing is having a sense of urgency; you can’t postpone passion. To that, I would add a whole lot of courage and a vision with heart - two qualities that this talented photographer definitely has.