I visited New Orleans for Jazz and Heritage Festival this year, my 25th year at Fest. I made some fine images of Jazz Musicians shooting from outside the photography pit for less distorted images than possible when working too close from the press photographers pit, including a photograph rising star Cecile McLorin Salvant. Use this link for that image and post, and view my new Jazz Fest gallery. Also see the images I made of Wynton Marsalis working the crowd, Buddy Guy wailing away in the Blues tent and Moctar Mdou, the ‘Hendrix of the Sahara,’ bringing down the house. I’ll add nice pics of Terence Blanchard and Stephanie Jordan.
Beyond Fest, I spent time wandering around in the Faubourg Marigny and along Frenchmen Street, hunting for good compositions. Above is an image of a street musician busking for a living outside a club on Frenchmen, and below is an image of ‘The World’s Most Okayest Poet’ doing the same thing, across the street.
Faubourg Marigny: In 1805 Bernard de Marigny began the subdivision of his plantation east of New Orleans, then under French control, creating the first suburb of the City. As Americans settled up-river in what is now the Garden District, French Creole and German immigrants and free persons of color settled in Faubourg Marigny. The Marigny, as it is most commonly referred to now, returned to its iconoclastic and Bohemian roots in the 1980s and 90s, as many refugees from the over-priced homes in the French Quarter and some folks from a substantial gay community in Nawlings moved in. Alas, The Marigny appears to be losing a battle with gentrification, pushed along by rising housing prices and Air BnB rentals. Still, the neighborhood retains enormous charm, displayed in the photo below of a restored Creole Cottage fronted by a utility pole festooned with Mardi Gras beads. Note the cat keeping watch and the reflection of the backside of the utility pole in the front window, a deliberate compositional element.
And here is a nearby wall mural:
I love the black birds surrounding the big-hearted guy. Que colores! And here is the local coffee house:
Here are Wynton, Buddy Guy, Moctar M’Dou and Terence Blanchard:
But I have to say, with all due respect for the gents, the women artists and the female characters of Fest are the most photogenic. I loved the music and energy of Stephanie Jordan, Cecile Savant, (OK, I already gave you a link for my blog about her, but so what?), and the dancers from Niger, performing in the small stage for cultural exchange.
The Ganga Aarti is an Aarti offering prayer to the Ganges river, Mother Ganga. One is held every night at dusk at several ghats in Varanasi (Benares). (The ghats in Benares are a series of stone steps lining a bank of the Ganges for several miles.) Several young Hindu priests, pandits,perform this religious ritual or puja,raising or lowering incense sticks, scepters blowing smoke, ringing bells and blowing on conch shells, all in coordinated movements. The culmination of the Ganga Aarti involves the movement of special oil lamps, deepam, in lieu of the Aarti plate, with dozens of multi-tiered ghee lamps aflame. The young priest-pandits move these lit lamps up and down in a rhythmic fashion while chanting hymns to the river God, a fantastic and highly photogenic display of light, as seen here. See my blog and India gallery on my website, here, for more photos from my recent trip to India and from the Ganga Aarti and Benares, in particular.
This is Lord Shiva, actually, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva, one of the primary three deities in the “Great Hindu Trinity”: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Shiva, the destroyer or transformer. Along with Parvati, Shiva’s consort, these are the most important Gods in the Hindu pantheon.
This representation of Shiva appears on one of the towers or gopuram of the Meenakshi Temple, a historic Hindu temple located in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The Temple is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and Sundareshwar. See my growing, new India gallery on my website for more photographs from my recent India trip and elsewhere.
The hides from tens of thousands of sheep were being processed in the Fez, Morocco, Tannery before me when I made this photograph, waiting with my camera and long glass for over an hour on the balcony of a leather goods shop for a photographic moment like this. The man on the porch opposite me, striking a crucifixion pose, had just emerged from the doorway behind to stretch for a minute before resuming work in the dye and chemical vats below. I chose my location for the strong, raking side lighting and the the wall opposite me, hoping something would happen on that porch. It finally did. I lasted an hour only because of mint sprigs handed out by the shop keeper to cut the nearly unbearable smell from the hides, the chemicals, the offal. See more images of Fez, the medina, desert dunes and from Morocco, in my Morocco gallery on my website.
The tshechu are annual religious festivals of the Drukpa branch of Tibetan Buddhism, the national religion in Bhutan. Tshechu are held annually in each district or ‘dzongkhag.’ The focal point of the tshechus are the Cham dances and dancers. The Cham dances last hours, beginning early in the morning. They are sometimes described as ecstatic because they can involve leaping and other seemingly wild movement of masked or other costumed dancers, or, alternately, slow, highly meditative and trance-like gestures and movement. See other photographs of the tshechu, the Cham dances and the splendid thongdrel, an immense appliqué tapestry with religious images of the Guru Rinpoche, displayed in public only once yearly during the tshechu, and other images from Bhutan in the Bhutan gallery on my website under Travel Photography.