Pyrotechnic Photography by Mapes
“Pyrotechnics is an amazing art form that uses minerals to produce light, sound and color. Fireworks can be designed to burn with flames or sparks of many colors, and they have been around since at least 7th Century China” says Mapes. “Pyrotechnics is an extraordinary way to be expressive, it is a rare skill set and there is a level of showmanship I wanted to photograph”.
David Mapes’ experience as a licensed pyrotechnician inspires and informs this work greatly, especially considering the technical challenges involved and the timing necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Aside from the composition used to create the miniature pyrotechnic display, there is wiring and staging involved, plus initiating and capturing a reaction that is over in a fraction of a second. “There are certain incongruences about this work I like, especially the combination of nature, science and art that these photographs attempt to represent,” said Mapes.
An exothermic reaction releases heat and in this case creates fire that illuminates, and also becomes part of the compositions the artist has assembled. Combining chemical combustion with other subject matters, the expression changes with each tableau.