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Photos of My Dad, the Amateur Scientist

He's just a dad with a love for chemical reactions and things that go ka-boom.

by Graham Walzer
Nov 4 2014, 5:49pm

​When I was a kid, my father's drawers were packed full of brown glass bottles. They carried skull and crossbone warning labels and reeked of strange, sour things. "These are not toys Graham, these are tools for science," he'd point at them and say.

We sat together mixing a homemade explosive that--once dried--would be volatile to the touch. I crouched, watching my father stir the chalky purple mixture. "Now promise me, you will not touch anything until I come back," he said. I nodded in reply, unable to look away from the drying paste. 

Ten minutes later, I was still staring--I couldn't resist. I nudged it gently with a stick. Nothing. I poked at it again. Silence. I found a hammer discarded nearby. My father walked back into the garage just as the hammer came crashing down on the dry powder. A deafening bang and purple mushroom cloud had engulfed his eight-year-old son. He thought he killed me.

I've been photographing my father and his science experiments for a long time. He is not a professional scientist. He is just a dad with a love for chemical reactions and things that go ka-boom.

See more of Graham's work ​he​re.