Film images from J’ouvert festival with the HOLGA

The J’ouvert festival recently unloaded itself unto our weary Brooklyn and it now stands firmly, surely, as my favorite annual cultural event.  Starting at 3am, its hypnotic, rhythmic procession of steel drums and motor oil covered revelers snake their way down Flatbush to Empire then head East.  I realized, while standing in the middle of the street drinking a bottle of Guinness as the sun crested the Eastern horizon, thousands of people streaming in both directions, music pounding, people wining (the incredible sex dance of the West Indies), singing, heads deep in religious and spiritual fervor, the air a pungent mix of paint, smoke and oil, that this religious procession is the ONLY time the West Indian community in New York (and many New Yorker’s in general) get to fully express and celebrate their traditions and passions as its riotous behavior unfortunately falls far south of what our puritanical society will tolerate.  [Here is a link to an earlier 2012 post that has more explanations on the holiday as well as digital images and video.]

This post highlights the images which I made on a Holga camera.  The Holga is a plastic, Medium Format camera which in the last 5 years has become immensely popular. It’s the impetus for the Hipstamatic and Instagram apps and the digital filters that they overlay over camera phones images attempting to imitate the Holga’s unique visual effects, namely its vignettes, lightleaks, lens aberrations and general out of focus qualities.  All of which you will see here on film in its natural, smooth, beautiful glory. Look into the corners of images for vingettes, all around the frame for the strange color bleeds and film loading mishaps as well as the selective focus in general.

I actually had a class in college in 1993 where we used this camera as an exercise to make images more from a place of pure artistic creation instead of one hindered by the many technical calculations needed to create high quality images.

And, if you want even more J’ouvert and Carnival stuff, here is my 2011 post and 2010 of the same event.

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