An inside look at a Texas Independence Day tradition.
Fireworks are sold legally in 47 states, and for a few weeks every year, Texas is one of them. The Fourth of July holiday is one of two times fireworks stands are open for business in Texas (the other is New Year's). The summer selling season runs from June 24 - July 4, and during that time stand operators are at their stores 24 hours a day.
Austin-based photographer Matthew Johnson first noticed the stands when he drove by one a couple of years ago. He was intrigued by the intersection of holiday tradition and entrepreneurial spirit they embody.
At one stand, he met three women representing three generations of the family that operates it. “They were interesting characters eager to share their entrepreneurial story of making hay while the sun shines on the short fireworks selling season,” Johnson said, but not all operators were as welcoming. “You never know what kind of reception you’ll get when approaching a stand to ask about photos. There are plenty of folks who are highly skeptical of any form of media, or even perceived media. There is seldom middle ground in the reception I receive upon asking to make a portrait, owners are almost always either exceedingly gracious or tell me I have 10 seconds to get off their property.”
Fortunately for us, he met enough gracious owners to put together this series and give us a glimpse into this Texas Independence Day tradition.