Black and White

Black and white328
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2 Essays

  1. Beth Mintz | University of Vermont says:

    Carnival is celebrated throughout the western world; it is particularly famous in New Orleans. What immediately comes to mind is the stark contrast between the white-faced images of the Venice festival captured here, and the pictures of those stranded in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, most of who were African American. Indeed, when I think of New Orleans’ most famous event, I think of whiteness; of white faces partially hidden by masks and masks painted white. Who would ever imagine in examining Mardi Gras, in its organization, in its media representation, in its exclusivity, in its old-line krewes, that New Orleans is 70% African American? Understanding the dynamics driving the way that Mardi Gras is constructed may very well provide a map for interpreting the post hurricane images that continue to haunt us.

  2. Peter Mark | Wesleyan University says:

    Carnival traditions, usually associated with Catholicism, are found in western Europe from Italy to Belgium; Carnival also exists in West Africa (Senegal, Gambia, Guiné Bissau) where it is often independent of Christianity. Both African and European traditions fed the New World, where the creole cultures of the Caribbean islands and of New Orleans gave birth to the best-known manifestations of Carnival. Venetian Carnival is the archetypal expression of Carnival in its European Catholic form. Rachel Tanur's photographs of Carnival in Venice offer a refreshingly personal, even idiosyncratic view of Carnival in the Lagoon. Composition and color, as in the marvelous "Cone heads," move us out of the everyday world. Things are aslant, not quite representative of a comfortable normality. The camera here captures the magic of a transformative masquerade.