This is why.
This is the reason that I like to work from the start of almost any parade. Especially Mardi Gras parades. This is where the pictures are. The unusual pictures. The little moments. The interaction between the subject, other subjects and me. This is where I actually get to talk to the people who are walking, riding or playing music during the parade. This is where I make friends.
Take a look. The young lady in “And, Once Again at Zulu” and “All Smiles” is the same person. I made “All Smiles” at the first Uptown parade of the season. “And, Once Again at Zulu” was made on Mardi Gras Day in the frozen dawn. The one of the two last formal parades of the season. She was the Mardi Gras Queen of her high school. She led her school’s band during the parade. I already had emailed her digital files of her earlier performance, so when she saw me at dawn she was happy to see me. Yes, yes. She received digital files from the massive Zulu parade as well. That’s what you do.
I’ll get back to that in a bit. But first, just a little about the pictures. This is how I prefer to work. One or two camera bodies. Shorter lenses. Let everybody see what I’m doing. No lurking. No shooting from a long distance. Instead; lots of smiles, lots of talking and lots of business cards. No, no, no. I’m not looking to make money from the people I photographed in these pictures. I want them to know that I’m for real and that pictures of them are theirs just for the asking.
I have no idea which picture I like best. It changes hourly. For me, this is a very nice selection of pictures. A little portfolio. It leads up to this Friday night when I actually shoot the first of the Uptown parades. These pictures are about my memories. When I took “And, Once Again at Zulu,” the temperature was about 28 degrees. On that day, the high temperature never got above 31 degrees. Freezing rain all day. Very icy and cold streets. To some of you, that might not be very cold. To us, down here in the swamp with the normal humidity turned frigid, that’s brutal. Then, there is “The Waiting is the Hardest Thing.” I forget where online I first posted it, but somebody said, “Too bad, if the car wasn’t there it would have been a perfect picture.” To me, the car adds the layer that makes it very close to being perfect.
Oh well. It’s all a matter of viewpoint. And, perspective,
Oh yeah. About that comment, “That’s what you do.” Sharing with the people that I photograph on the streets is a matter of respect. Paying it. They work very hard to do what they do. Giving them a few pictures is the least I can do. In return, I am also respected. I can work much easier. I’m helped when I need it. People smile at me even when I get in their way. They push me gently to the front of the crowd. Of course, sometimes you also feel their pain. Today, we lost a musician. A saxophone player. Clarence Trixey Slaughter. Another pal on the scene. I don’t know why or how. I suppose it doesn’t matter. RIP.