Mashramani

Mashramani.  A Guyanese Celebration that has taken on the overtones of Carnival.  The name, derived from an Amerindian word (Arawak) meaning “Celebration after hard work” has been synonymous with Guyana’s Republic Day celebrations for many many years.  Although the original activity began in the mining town of Linden (known as Mackenzie back in those days), it spread quickly around the country.

It is probably hard to have grown up in Guyana (or at least one of the towns in Guyana) and not have attended and have memories of Mashramani celebrations, especially the “Float Parade”.  But after reading Krysta’s blog post “Mash in Guyana, People going crazy”, my mind did that funny thing where it takes you back to remembering what it was like when you were a child.

Just for the record, her title was a reflection of a popular song for the Mashramani celebrations going back many years, it was written and performed by Rudy Grant and is yet to be replaced as “The” song for Mashramani.

So, back to my memories of Mash (faulty though they may be)!

I won’t go into any detail (since that is very much lacking in my memory) but I’ll tell you what I miss… the Low-bed trailers.  I remember there being two very distinct types of “Floats”, one was the very mobile (often times extravagant) personal Float Costume, handled by one man or woman, who expertly maneuvered it down the streets, spinning and dancing and giving a very exuberant display, the second was the low-bed display, a very low (two or three feet of the ground low) trailer with an extravagant display on it, these were usually pulled by a tractor (I even remember a Tapir pulling one once).

These days I see the larger trucks which make seeing all the components of a well-detailed display hard to see.  So, I miss the low-bed trucks or trailers that were used back then.

As a photographer on Mash Day, it’s a nightmare, the police have no control over the crowds, who fill up the street where the bands are supposed to pass, and when the Bands\Floats are passing they also walk alongside, in-front and behind, and sometimes even within!  In doing so they obscure others from seeing and enjoying the beautiful costumes and other design works in the Floats and trucks.  Of course, that also makes it really hard for a photographer to get “easy” shots, but we persevere and press on to get what we can 🙂

I’ve put aside (with Nikhil’s help) a Select set which is about a quarter of the whole gamut, you can click HERE for that, but I do encourage you to check out the whole Gallery by clicking the image below.

Slingshot!

This photo for me is very much “Mashramani”, this is Slingshot, a Guyanese singer / Calypsonian, a few years ago he fell of the horse-cart and was injured, this year he was back, undaunted, and back on the horse-cart!  Hats off to you Slingshot!

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2012 Deck – Week 7

This week’s Deck Photo is taken from the Children’s Mashramani Parade this year, I previously blogged about that. (If you haven’t checked it out as yet, I think its a good view, the children really did well!)

Although this photograph may not have been the best of that set, there was just something, that “je ne c’est quoi” quality in it that I thought was more appealing to me.  It was a beautiful costume, and a lovely young lady showing it off, and her smile lit up her face nicely too.

The costume wasn’t as colourful (you know, the full range of the Guyana flag, plus a few more) as others, but in its simplicity of colours it enhanced the beauty and detail of the design.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Celebration

Mashramani 2012 – Children’s Parade

I have to begin by apologising for the amount of photographs in the album on the site… I normally go just for fairly close shots, but I thought that this year I’d try to get some of the whole shots with the costumes, I’m not too good at it, but I’ve been asked many times about why I don’t have the nice big costumes.  Also, the Children’s parade this year was very engaging and the costumes very nice, and I think there were more of them too  🙂

Every year I think that the Children’s Parade is better to attend than the Adult’s Parade, it is shorter, even though the amount of entrants might be on par, even though they don’t speed down the road, they seem to be more organised and better managed, and this results in a very good flow of groups and floats down the street.

The sides of the street is also less crowded so as a spectator, I can enjoy it more and as a Photographer, I can get the photographs easier  🙂  without being elbowed and shoved, and possibly trampled.

I know it may be a lot of photographs, but I think you may find at least a few that appeal to you  🙂  Click on the image below to see the entire collection in the Gallery.  Or just click this TOP 25 link for a select 25 images.

2012 Deck – Week 6

I am a Photographer.

After years of trying to avoid the label, I have to accept what I am, and I can say I am proud of the journey and what I have achieved so far with the help of everyone I know, not a single person has ever tried to tell me that my photographs are bad, many said they were good (and worth improving many times), mostly these were family and friends, so they are expected to say that 🙂

Today, 16th February 2012, I will stand beside one of my best friends and fellow Photographer, Nikhil,  as our work goes on display at the National Gallery, Castellani House.  It will be a month-long show, ending on March 17th, 2012.  The Gallery will feature at least 20 pieces from each of us, and we are proud of our work.  (he exhibition is open to the public from tomorrow through the 17th March)

Although in the beginnings of my photographic journey I seldom saw the call of monochrome photos, I seem to have changed quite a bit in that respect, the majority of my photographs on display are monochromatic.  Many years ago I was well known by my friends for detesting heavy cloud coverage in the skies as I loved blue skies in my photographs, that has also changed, most of the landscape images on display show dramatic clouds and tumultuous skies.

I encourage anyone with a few minutes to spare to stop in at Castellani House and take a look, I’d hate to be known as the exhibition that no one bothered to go see  🙂

This week, I give you an image taken on a PhotoWalk with the Guyana Photographer’s Group, my more spectacular images were posted to the group (I hope to share them here later), this one I saved for use here, I was planning a post on the effective use of vignettes, but I don’t have that much to say on the subject yet, so here’s how I used  a vignette in post-processing an image, and it’s a sepia (monochrome) image, and there are clouds in the sky, no true blue skies for me that day either 🙂

Yonder Isle

2012 Deck – Week 5

There are some weeks when you have a number of photographs, many that are technically better than others, yet you keep going back to one in particular which, although not the best composed, or the best exposed, nor the best focused image, it seems to demand from you that extra bit of attention.

This image is one such image for me, I had a few that were better, nicer, prettier, more appealing generally, but this one I liked more.  The focus was not on the “obvious” subject, and for that reason I almost decided not to use it, but it appeals to me, it is an image that says something more than the others that I took this week.

If it speaks to you, then I am happy, if it doesn’t, then I fully understand 🙂

Sands... and Time

2012 Deck – Week 4

One of the “Four Great Inventions” of China was the invention of Paper, credited to a Court Eunuch named Ts’ai Lun sometime around 105BC, now more than two thousand years later, China still produces numerous paper-products including the subject of this week’s photograph.

Not only is the Invention of Paper one of the “Four Great Inventions of China”, but another of those four inventions is “Printing”, and coincidentally, the subject of today’s photograph combines them both. 🙂

As the Chinese New Year celebrations which began the Year of the (Sea) Dragon, came quite close to my daughter’s birthday, we had essentially a three day celebration for her, and we hung a few Chinese decorations, including these tiny Paper Lanterns that are lit by a string of “Fairy Lights”

May everyone have a fruitful and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

Paper Lantern