What happened to the caretaker when a giant wave slammed into the lighthouse: The story of one of the world’s most amazing photographs

The Breton water area is one of the most picturesque places in France. And what makes it so is not the man-made landscapes, but literally the power of wildlife — grandiose storms and a challenging coastline. This is where one of the most famous lighthouses in the world is located, and there is a very interesting history associated with it.

La Jument Lighthouse

The Brittany Peninsula is one of the most difficult parts of the coast to navigate. Inclement weather conditions, frequent storms and strong undercurrents, along with the rocky coastline, have caused numerous shipwrecks. For this reason, about a hundred lighthouses have been installed along the entire length of the Breton coastline.

The most famous and picturesque of them all is La Jument lighthouse. It is located directly in the Atlantic Ocean near the shore on a rocky ledge, and its height is 100 meters. Because of the frequent storms, the lighthouse has become one of the most beautiful places where you can see the power and strength of nature.

Previously, artists came to see the tower, built in 1911, in order to translate what they saw into paintings, but now it has become a place of pilgrimage of photographers.

Until 1991, La Jument lighthouse had a keeper to ensure its normal operation, but since this position was abolished, the automatics do everything. However, it was for the best, because the position was extremely dangerous.

After a long shift, the caretaker was happy to leave his post for a while and hand it over to his replacement, but even this was fraught with danger. Because of the constant strong waves, only a helicopter could pick up the caretaker and his belongings and bring in a new caretaker in the same way.

On December 21, 1989, probably the best photo in the history of the lighthouse was taken, and quite by accident. This very photograph almost cost the life of Theodore Malhorn, the lighthouse keeper.

That year off the coast of Brittany there was the worst storm ever recorded here, even the caretaker had to fear for his life. The situation was so serious that he radioed the coast and called a rescue team to evacuate him until the storm was over.

He waited impatiently for the helicopter, listening to the waves crashing against the triple-shielded Finnish windows. When the sound of propellers sounded, he hurried out the door. Only it wasn’t the rescuers, it was the ill-fated photographer Jean Guichard, the author of the now-popular photo.

At that very moment, the lighthouse La Jument was hit by a huge wave, and the camera captured it: the keeper at the railing and the waves surrounding him. Luckily, he came to his senses in time, saw the danger, and rushed back to the lighthouse building.

Theodore Malhorn was then removed from the lighthouse and sent ashore, just in time for the raging waves to break the steel doors and wash some of the furniture into the ocean. The picture he took later earned the photographer Jean Guichard first prize in the World Press Photo contest.

Ձեզ հետաքրքրե՞ց մեր հոդվածը, կիսվեք ընկերների հետ։