Capturing the crazy of carnival
Photographer Marc Pagani’s first fine art solo show, “Faces of Mardi Gras,” is currently on view at the Guy Lyman gallery on Magazine Street. Mostly known for documenting adventure travel around the globe—be it underwater with Cape fur seals in South Africa, from a hillside in the French Alps during Tour de France (he decorates his Treme apartment with various bicycles, when he’s not out riding them) or via helicopter over Mount Everest (once his back finally gave out)—Pagani enjoys capturing all the cultural antics as well as the deeply rooted traditions of his home town.
“Living in New Orleans, I still feel like I’m in an exotic locale when I’m shooting a second line, or Super Sunday, or Mardi Gras day,” he says. “It’s such a pleasure to document the amazing costuming that locals partake in here around carnival.”
About half of the show consists of Mardi Gras Indian portraits from various tribes, shot one Super Sunday six years ago. Pagani brought along a lighting assistant and a Profoto battery-powered studio strobe—the same lighting he uses at home—making the costumes appear as if they were shot in a studio. The rest of the images were taken either on Mardi Gras day or at one of the various parades around town leading up to the big day throughout the 13 years Pagani has been living in New Orleans.