For his electric captures of fireworks along Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, Seattle-based photographer Paul Edmondson casts the luminous explosions in a new light, implementing long exposure times and unusual cropping techniques to push each fiery tendril into the realm of abstraction.
Fireworks are a key cultural component of Long Beach Peninsula, where there is a popular annual Independence Day celebration, explains the artist. Because fireworks are prohibited in the remainder of the state, the sprawling water’s edge was the perfect site for Edmondson to set off his own roman candles, which he bought from a local reservation.
Edmondson’s imagery touches on the drama of fireworks without becoming cliche or redundant. Instead of the conventional dome that we associate with New Years’ or July 4th festivities, he paints a more nuanced, graphic portrait of celebration. He prefers smaller-scale combustions because of his close proximity with the blast, and he is careful to purchase products that are safe for the community. Even the most minimal firework, he notes, can become a spectacle when shot under a long exposure. The magic of it, he says, is never being able to predict the shape and trajectory of each serendipitous detonation.
As with much of his work, Edmondson uses fireworks to explore the complex relationships that bind or separate mankind with the earth’s natural landscape. Says the artist, “My images are a direct response… to how we’re able to create such incredible light, beauty and color by simply lighting a match.”
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.