Recently, I was fortunate to have a photo of mine selected and used for the cover of the Caribbean Airlines in-flight magazine – Caribbean Beat (November – December 2012), and they have also used another to accompany an article in the current issue (January-February 2013)
Click on the image above for the full PDF article by Vidyaratha Kissoon along with the accompanying image.
Amazingly it was an image that I liked, but not one that got a lot of attention 🙂 Getting great images during the Mashramani parade is not easy, I’m thankful to come away each year with more than a few that I like.
Here’s the image: Click to see it in the Gallery along with a select set of photos from last year’s 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.
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!
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 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.
Republic Day, a day of celebration, we govern ourselves, no longer under imperial rule; some say that was a mistake, but it happened 41 years ago, sometime before I was born, so it’s all academic to me. Mashramani is the adopted celebration of Republic Day, celebrating a crop that’s harvested, a job completed; or in this day an age, just a big bacchanal, a reason to go out and party, to see the costumes and floats, both governmental and private sector.
Things to remember next year (if I choose to go out): SUNSCREEN, lots of water, and a really big flexible hat that won’t interfere with the camera in front my face.
Because of the recent rains, the “mall” where people usually walk and eat, picnic and party, was soggy, so they chose to walk alongside the bands, this was not good for a photographer, getting s decent shot was hard, so I took as many as were allowed, getting lots of spoilage in the process 🙂
I’ve chosen a tetrad of images for this blog post, those are by no means representative of the full gallery, but I had to choose something 🙂 Click on the image to go to the full gallery.
I hope you view the gallery and let me know which ones you like, commenting on the gallery is as easy as commenting here 🙂
In an attempt to explain Mashramani to someone recently I had to use comparisons, so lets just say that it has similar roots to Trinidad’s Carnival, Rio’s Carnival and Louisiana’s Mardi Gras; well, less Mardi Gras and more Carnival 🙂
Wednesday gone was our Republic Day in Guyana, and the big event was the Mashramani Parade, so I had already decided that I was going to pick one of those photos for this week’s Deck image.
After several days of torrential and continuous rain (that flooded my house) the day was Sunny, very sunny, still clouds on the horizon, and every once in a while, above us, but primarily sunny. My head now looks like a large cherry on top my shoulders, I am sunburnt. But hopefully after I upload all the selected images from the day, I’ll think it was worth it 🙂
I chose one that I think represented the exuberance and gaiety, the sheer joy of tramping and mashing down the road that the revellers seem to possess (on and off) through their parade.
In Guyana, one of the festivities marking the occasion of Republic Day is Mashramani, the word being derived from one of the many native Amerindian languages, meaning roughly “celebration after a job well done”, the actual celebrations are more African in origin celebrating the end of the harvest time. As part of the Mashramani Celebrations the various schools have entries into the Children’s Float and Costume Competition, the parade is usually held the Saturday before the main National festivities.
I took some photos that day and have uploaded them to the site, below is a checkerboard of photos from that collection, please click on it to go to the collection for the full set.
With any luck today will be sunny and I will be ably to get a nice set of photos from today’s National Mashramani Float Parade.
Happy Mashramani to all Guyanese, a Happy Republic Day, and to the rest of the world, Happy Wednesday 🙂