People of Mardi Gras 2020

February 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

People of Mardi Gras


People of Mardi Gras is an ongoing series / work in progress where I try to tell the collective story of Mardi Gras through portraits and photos of the people attending. It is the people that make Mardi Gras what Mardi Gras is.

I started this project year or two after I got into photography. It started off as just bringing my camera to parades and shooting photos. Then I started getting into portraiture and loved the idea of a person’s face telling a story. So, I started asking strangers If I could take their portrait, with the idea that I could tell multiple individuals’ story with a portrait, that I could tell the entire collective story of Mardi Gras in a series of portraits. It's still that, but as the years go it's become a way for me to try new photography techniques, play with different gear, and celebrate Carnival my own way. Some people indulge in food drink and partying during Mardi Gras, I indulge in street photography. 


Happy Carnival! This year, 2021, will be an interesting one to say the least. When they announced that Mardi Gras was going to be canceled this year, I immediately went, "Hold up, You cant cancel Mardi Gras!" You can cancel the super krewes and the parades, even close off the quarter, but you can't cancel Mardi Gras. The people will find someway to celebrate, and this year they have done exactly that. House floats are a big hit this year and its amazing to see the creativity fly. What was even more amazing to me was seeing the traffic on St. Charles last week. People are getting in their cars to go look at house floats. Truly you can't keep New Orleanians off the streets during Carnival.

If your celebrating carnival this year, whether it be through turning your house into a float, or doing something else, please contact me. I'd like to take your photo and ask you what Mardi Gras means to you. Typically I can just walk out my door and find people at parades and in the quarter to photograph, but this year is clearly different. So please reach out to me on my instagram account @peopleofmardigras if your celebrating carnival this year. I'd like to take your photo.


People of Mardi Gras 2020

Mardi Gras 2020 was a beautiful year, specially considering that a pandemic hit shortly after that and it brought the world to a halt. As I look at last years images I long for when we can get together and freely party like this. 2020 was also busy year for me during the carnival season. I had a lot professional jobs, including photographing the Ball of Mad Hatters as well as their parade, a wedding on mardi gras morning, and a few convention headshots and event gigs. Nevertheless, I was still able to get out and document a few parades and capture all of Mardi Gras day.

Its seems as my method of using instagram to record interviews, that I started in 2019, is working. So check out my instagram page @peopleofmardigras if you want to catch some of the interviews I've done with the people that I've photographed.

 

Why am I just now posting 2020?

It's a photography workflow technique. I shoot all on film, so after Mardi Gras the rolls of film sit in my freezer until about a month or two before the next years carnival. Then I start developing them. I do this specifically so I forget what I shot. There’s a certain phenomenon that happens to photographers when they are making pictures. It’s a certain type of feeling you get when you make an image. It’s hard to describe unless you yourself caught the photo-bug and have experienced the joy/obsession of it. Allot of photographers mix that feeling up with the image itself. Just because I got a good feeling taking the image, doesn't necessarily make it a good image. So, hence why I like to wait a year. I've also found that it gets me in the carnival spirit going through my images just weeks before Fat Tuesday.

 

Thanks for looking at my work!

-Traven


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