Photos: Spectacle

by Beauchamp Art


Spectacle - 1

Spectacle – 1


Photographs of a fireworks show from a bedroom window and the resulting clouds of smoke; the spectacle of explosions and gun powder, civilian marvelling at military invention.

These images primarily function as further post-production practice; and a rehearsal of photographing in low-light conditions, quickly, as the explosions would happen rapidly, and as the camera could not be stably positioned (as I was leaning out of a window, so setting up a trip-pod would have been problematic, even if I had one to hand), and a high ISO would have resulted in two much grain if the dark areas where brightened, so as to reveal the texture of the smoke intermingling with the rooftops and technicolour lighting, in order to create an dark and ominous atmosphere, without being totally black and grey.

Most of the pictures were treated to create a unified colour scheme of slightly off-green, sickly yellows and bloody reds, like a night march through the mustard-gas drenched trenched battlefields of the Somme, as reckoned by soldiers on the front line in apathetic poems recounting the horror of their stag net situation, in bemused in bemused spectacle of their own destruction; as Wilfred Owen recounted the scene; “dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea.” [Owen, 1917] The gunpowder of fireworks being the same material that fires mortar shells and bullets in countless wars since its discovery, use on display in celebration; with the screams and shouts of terror and death replaced by the ‘oohs and ahs’ of an audience rapturously enchanted. Exploding light cast out as a information blast to fire the words of joyful wonder that decent as ashes in the wake of banal destruction, a simulation of chaos in precisely made capsules of explosives and colourising chemicals, raining shock and awe as pleasing clouds of burning snowflakes, data smog.

The explosive is a medium, its message is death and spectacle.


Spectacle - 4

Spectacle – 4


Spectacle - 3

Spectacle – 3



Owen, Wilfred. (1917) Dulce et Decorum est. Wikipedia [Online] – – Accessed 17.10.14