The queen and her court roll by at the head of the Treme Sidewalk Steppers second line. This was a big deal since it is their 25th Anniversary.
Unfortunately, they start on Rampart Street across from the Quarter. A few years ago, they started putting up police barricades and hiring security guards. You know the ones. The ones who wear badges that say the word security. The kind you can buy online for ten dollars.
I dealt with it that year, didn’t go last year and decided to get as far away from that silliness as I could this year. I went into what was just about my old neighborhood. The same so-called company was still working the ropes. I just walked around them.
I actually don’t like to photograph the floats since I normally can’t get a good angle on them. I did this time. I sort of had to make a picture like this because the actual second line was chaotic. The brass band was scattered amongst the walkers. The walkers were all over the place. The guys with the ropes couldn’t control anything. Everybody walked around them.
I let the second line come to me. That was the best thing that I could have done. I stood on my little patch of ground and made pictures.
That’s the story of the picture.
I have another story. It deals with wondering what we why we are on the planet. A friend of mine sent me an email about that. I don’t know why people come to me. I’m no guru. I barely understand what I do, let alone what others do. I have to process his words before I reply to him. Then, I may talk about it here. In general terms. No sense in embarrassing anybody when they are reaching out. Or, ever, really.
I was inspired by something a friend of mine published yesterday on his blog. Let’s call him Robert. Because that’s his name. Heh! He photographed something in some windows in the Quarter. He put his camera lens flat on the glass as I once suggested. He liked the results so he mentioned me in his post. That got me thinking of this picture. The one that you are looking at. I shot it through a window.
First. For the record. I am not competitive. Except with myself. He just got me thinking about this picture which I haven’t shared with you. It’s one of those kinds of pictures that just sort of fell by the way side.
The picture. I guess that’s the tip for the day. It’s very, very old school. If you are photographing through a glass window, put your lens directly on the glass. It may take some juggling around to actually be able to frame the picture that you want to take. But once you do, you’ll have no glare or reflections and the window will act like a brace or tripod. You can work in the dark. Like I do.
Everybody could use a helping hand. Or two. Or four.
Especially if you are wearing high heels on New Orleans streets. And, if you are the Queen of The Women of Class. Luckily, Queen Trenice Jenkins didn’t walk in the second line. She rode in comfort, as a queen should. But, getting down the stoop steps and even over the potholed street was a bit of a challenge. So, she had a little help.
Me? I really like the helping hands. It’s a very cool little moment. But, I also really like the blue Beatles t-shirt. Everybody should have one. That’s what I think, anyway.
The picture. Hmmm. You know what I did. Still staying simple. Still getting close. And, as usual there is this…
This picture has just about everything. The start of a second line parade. The queen and her court. A big confused crowd. A streetcar.
Now that the second line season is meandering to its conclusion, I thought I would show you a few pictures of parades gone by. Pictures that you haven’t seen. We’ll start with this one and go from here.
This picture is only a couple of weeks old. The Devine Ladies were arriving is style. In Limousines. On St. Charles Avenue. Some just opened the door and got out of their cars. Other ladies were a little more showy. Like this one. She came out dancing.
Since parades happen on Sundays, I’m going to take an educated guess and say that all those people in the streetcar are tourists. Contrary to popular belief, streetcars are not a tourist attraction. They are part of our public transportation system. Residents ride them on their daily commute. If this picture had been made on a week day the people on board would have been going to work. And, there wouldn’t be a crowd on the street milling about.
So… Lucky tourists.
They had no idea when they boarded the streetcar that they were going to see a New Orleans tradition. A second line parade. Very cool for them.
The picture. Really not much too it. Stand in the right place and eventually you get lucky. I try very hard to stand in the right place.
Unless one of the postponed parades try to regroup and walk on an open date, there are only two more left in the season. June 21st for Father’s Day and The Uptown Swingers on June 28th. If you remember, the pictures from last year’s Uptown Swingers second line feature a huge rain storm and my dancing pal on the scene. A young woman dressed in a white dress, wearing white running shoes and dancing between the rain drops.
I try to keep my promises. Life is too short for unkept promises. Sheesh. Maybe life is to short for promises at all. You asked for more Mardi Gras pictures, so I said that I would do sort of a wrap up of Mardi Gras 2014. I decided to give myself a month to do the curating, post production and fine tuning. After all, I do have other work to do. So do you. I also set a deadline. Since Fat Tuesday occurred on March 4, 2014, I thought publishing these pictures on April 4, 2014 was appropriate.
Exactly one month.
I also decided not to use the gallery function that is offered by WordPress because the way that it sizes pictures and sets them up in a grid makes it very hard for other social sites to “see” them. Additionally, it appears that Google has a pretty hard time finding them if all those little pictures aren’t key worded in a way that optimizes each one of them for their search algorithms. So, I went back to full-sized pictures that you can open up to even bigger pictures if one strikes your fancy. And, all the other sites can find them.
One more thing. These few paragraphs are all that I am publishing. This is about pictures and carnival. I’ve written enough — way too much really — so that you have a pretty good idea of what you are seeing.
The pictures. I think you know that I like to work around the edges. I think that most Mardi Gras parades are probably among the most photographed subjects in the world. EVERYBODY has some kind of camera and they use them. Being a person who’s lived photography for almost 40 years I have to wonder why all these people want to live and see their lives through a view finder or little screen. If I didn’t do what I do, I’d just watch the parades and enjoy Mardi Gras without the encumbrance of a camera of any kind. That’s just me. I don’t know what all those people are going to do with all these millions of digital files. Oh sure, they share them on various social media sites. But, those go by in the blink of an eye. Then what? More pictures? More sharing? Blips of data. Too much data. Unless you have a good library system, likely you’ll never find the pictures you took last week. For me, the ultimate use of a picture is on paper. Yes. Paper. Whether the picture is published in a magazine, brochure or whatever matters to me. Hanging a well-printed photograph on the wall matters to me. But, all these bits of data on some hard drive? Eh. That’s just a starting point. Like an old school negative.
The pictures you are about to see are organized in no particular order. They are little moments of time that I captured by intent, by luck or by some other thing. You know. Pictures like these used to be called the decisive moment. I don’t know how decisive these pictures are, but they are unique. Even the one float picture in this little portfolio is about the man and his son or grandson more than the float, itself. I don’t know how good or bad these pictures are. That’s your call. But, I know that nobody else made pictures like these. For me, that is the point.
That’s it for Mardi Gras 2014. I hope you enjoy my work.