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Colorful Photo Series Reveals What’s Inside Your Favorite Fireworks

Andrew_Waits_04Ground Bloom Flower

Andrew_Waits_03Orange Ammo Smoke

For Boom City, photographer Andrew Waits catalogues the outrageous fireworks sold north of Seattle, Washington in the Tulalip reservation. Each year on the 4th of July, families make a mad dash through hundreds of vendors to collect the best bargains on cherry bombs, bottle rockets, firecrackers, and roman candles. Adjacent to the rows of firework stands sits an open field and pit of gravel on which customers set off their recent purchases in elaborate one-man shows.

In his first chapter of the ongoing project, Waits captures the mechanics that ignite the hearts and eyes of rowdy children and daring adults on Independence Day in the Tulalip reservation. Against a stark black backdrop soon to be illuminated by frenetic bursts of light and sound, sit the minimalist Boom City fireworks, many of which are illegal outside the borders of the reservation. Awaiting inevitable combustion, they are bisected to reveal strangely beautiful powders, tubes, and conductors. Resting in suspense in the center of the frame, these small and seemingly benign objects belie a boisterous—and possibly dangerous— celebration to follow.

Andrew_Waits_07Mighty Cracker

Andrew_Waits_05Pop-Its

Andrew_Waits_02Blue Thunder Roman Candle

Andrew_Waits_01Lightning Flash

Andrew_Waits_08Flying Colour Butterflies Rocket

Andrew_Waits_06World Class Clay Color Smoke Balls

Andrew_Waits_09Moon Travelers Bottle Rocket