Trinidad & Tobago: Bloggers Make Mas

Today is Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago and though most bloggers are taking part in the festivities, a few of them have managed to post atypical photos of their 2012 Carnival experience…

At the Drop of a Heartbeat posts pictures of some of the lead-up events to Carnival Monday and Tuesday:

The steelband "Birdsong" at the Panorama Semi-Finals

“Mother of Humanity”, from the band “Sanctification”, Kings & Queens of Carnival Preliminaries

Another costume at the Kings and Queens of Carnival Preliminary Competition

Globewriter is playing mas for the first time in about ten years and says that:

K2K [the band he's masquerading with] was worth the wait. Incredible vibe, beautiful costumes…

Globewriter at the Queens Park Savannah, Carnival Monday

Globewriter's friend poses with a masquerader from the K2K Carnival band

Nicholas Laughlin, who blogs here, also posted lots of photos to flickr – the name of his band‘s 2012 presentation is “Fowl Party”, a takeoff on the local expression “Cockroach have no place in fowl party”. The saying is intended as a warning to social climbers not to show up in places where they are not welcome, but in the band's presentation, it puts on the cloak of social and political commentary.

Yard Fowl silhouette, at the mas camp

A cockroach in the "Fowl Party"

Masqueraders with their placards, just after passing the Adam Smith Square judging point

The band crosses the Queen's Park Savannah stage, Carnival Monday

Masquerader in a Blue Devil Band, Carnival Monday

Finally, commentary on the way in which photography and its record of Carnival has contributed to the festival's degeneration comes from Mark Lyndersay, a blogger and veteran Carnival photographer:

This is Carnival as an aggregate of cocked hips, hands lofted to the skies and ecstatic smiles. It’s a warm and inviting image that describes friendship, joy and a wanton Caribbean party and it’s all become one picture.

The disappearance of a considered visual interpretation of the event has fundamentally shifted the self-image we have of the event, its value systems and the way it is recorded and presented.

Today’s hastily produced and printed, disposable aggregates of wining posses only reinforce the displacement of portrayal by party hearty and engagement with empty enthusiasm.
Until we change this narrative by taking different photographs, telling different stories, shooting different footage, the massive legacy of Carnival creativity will keep shrinking to fit commercial concerns and limited preconceptions.

Today, if you chance to be in the mas, cast an eye on the hundreds of tiny interactions between players and photographers, it is there that the Carnival of record is being captured and our mas is snapshot to death.

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