Bruce Gilden, Hey Mister, Throw Me Some Beads!
Umm, a tad behind schedule. Kehrer published the book in 2015; this note was originally scheduled to be published January 28. 2016.
Well, things happen.
But it is still timely! Carnival season 2017 starts as always on Twelfth Night, January 6. The first parades are on February 11. So check this out and get psyched.
Actually, I like this book, which is why I still want to make note of it at year’s end. It represents an exception to a rule I’ve often seen play out, which is that publishing earlier work by a photographer who has come to be known for later work doesn’t always reveal hidden genius.
In this case, I can see Gilden’s later, confrontational style lying latent in these respectfully tough photographs. And I like being able to see a broader view around the faces and bodies. Of course, Mardi Gras can be seen as a spectacle like that of Gilden’s more recent work, in which faces loom at you like gargoyles shot in tight close-up. Harshly, dramatically lit, like cropped Arbus portraits, deprived of context and rammed up against the picture plane. By contrast, Hey Mister… allows the Big Easy’s annual circus plenty of room.
From the entry on the publisher’s Vimeo site you can watch a nice video about the work.
New Orleans, Louisiana. 1975. Mardi Gras. Copyright © Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos