Southern African Skies
I returned to Cambodia in August of 2012 to work with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre – CMAC to shoot documentary content.
These are ‘bomblets’ or submunitions from a cluster bomb artillery round, they are ‘Anti Material’ in design meaning that they are designed to destroy vehicles, tanks, and armaments.
Looking into the base you see a the copper lining of a ‘shaped charge’. When it hits it’s target the shaped explosive charge will crush and invert the copper cone into a molten ‘slug’ which will punch its way through armor and metal plating destroying the target.
The bomlets are stacked in clusters of seven, one surrounded by six, here on a base plate. The ribbon or ‘drogue’ on top acts like a parachute – orienting the devise so that the base with the copper cone will be facing down when it is initiated.
The clusters of seven are stacked one on top of the other inside the artillery round.
This artillery round holds 56 bomblets. The timed fuze, missing from the top of the round here, will initiate the charge in the yellow tube above and the charge will pull the cluster of bombs from its casing, it then ‘blooms’ into a hail of deadly bomblets.
Capturing an image of this phenomenon on Brooklyn Bridge I did some research and found that the tradition had its roots buried in a romance novel based in Rome. In the story, the two lovers, looking out over the vista from a bridge, took a lock and locked it to the rails of the bridge as a symbol of the strength of their love and commitment to each other, they then threw the key for the lock into the waters below as a testimony to their future. This became a popular icon of romance among, mostly, the Italian youth of NYC.
When my brother and i were kids, our dad used to read us a book, called ‘Peter and the Plaguey Blight”, that I remembered as being about murky, mossy forest spirits. When I traveled through this forest I felt like a had fallen into the pages…