People enjoying a festival are one of the many things that help define a place and a community. The two men standing next to each other, one in red festival garb, look up the street and communicate as men often do — by standing next to each other saying nothing. And the young girl concentrates on her performance as a majorette, baton in hand, whistle ready, her pleasure in the performing clearly visible to those who look. So much is said in the faces and actions of the people, yet so much is left unsaid.
[Note: These two images are a part of the series from the 2010-11 holiday festival on St. Croix also featured in the previous post.]
Every community has its empty places, faded and overgrown. Some of these, when there had been no design or charm to begin with, become a blight on the landscape. But others have personality and become a part of the character of a place, in their decline adding a patina of charm and history.
How do the well-intentioned and civic-minded learn to tell the difference, so they can carve away the decay and blight while leaving the history and charm in place?
Some of the best steel pan music in the world can be heard from the large orchestras that compete at Carnival time on the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. This seems appropriate since Trinidad is the birthplace of the instrument. While perhaps not the best in the world, we are fortunate on St. Croix to have several steel pan orchestras of our own, including the “Rising Stars”. The dedication of these young people and their leaders to create such stirring music must be admired.
The original photograph for the image above was taken at night under the glare of orange sodium street lights, with just a hint of flash to create the specular highlights on the pan in the foreground. Post-processing focused on enhancing the moody atmospheric qualities of the scene.
While the image below was captured under similar conditions, its focus is more on social commentary than atmosphere. This was a street vendor selling grilled meats set up in front of a perfume and beauty product store window, creating the contrasts between the pattern of the vendor’s dress, the poster in the background, and the condiment bottles in the foreground.
We no longer trust beauty as a serious means of investigation. But it can be ... In fact, beauty can be incendiary; it can be subversive; it can make us cringe.
-- David Maisel, Photographer
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it." -- Anais Nin
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” -- Rachel Carson