I've shown these photos before. I'd converted them to black and white, and I don't think it worked very well. The men and boys in these photos are members of the Pennsylvanians Crooning Minstrels, one of the over sixty troupes that take part in the Cape Town New Year's Carnival. The colors of their uniforms -- which usually change every year -- are an important part of the show.
All photos copyright John Edwin Mason, 2010. Click directly on any of the images to see larger versions.
I made the photos on New Year's Day, just a few weeks ago. We -- I was a member of the Pennsylvanians for about three years, while I was working on my bookOne Love, Ghoema Beat: Inside the Cape Town Carnival -- were hanging out in the klopskamer [clubhouse], getting ready for an inter-troupe competition later that day. We were also having a heck of a good time.
It's too late for any of these photographs to appear in the book, so after posting them on this blog a few weeks ago, I filed them away. I figured I'd get around to printing them, sooner or later.
Sooner or later turned out to be today. It's snowing hard in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the city is pretty much shut down. (The forecasts call for a total of 18 to 24 inches, before the storm subsides.) The University of Virginia, my employer, called off classes. I've spent the day alternating between reading graduate students' papers and printing.
As you can see, the Pennsylvanians are very much a part of their community, the working class suburb of Hanover park. When they're preparing for a parade or competition, the whole neighborhood turns out to watch.
Yep, that reflection is me.
I can't say that printing these photos has kept me warm. But it hasn't hurt. January is high summer in South Africa.