Then and There : Mardi Gras 1979


Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

 -- Oscar Wilde

In Then and There, I document a crucial aspect of public behavior at the 1979 New Orleans Mardi Gras. Shooting with an instant SX-70 Polaroid camera, the process allowed me to directly interact with my subjects who perform, observe, and even share in the photographic process. The 47 portraits are made just feet away from each person, mostly at dusk, sharply revealed by the light of the camera's flash bar. The subjects creatively present themselves in diverse colorful masks, make-up, and revelry. Each portrait is a glimpse into a layered and hidden personal identity made possible by the collaborative choices that I made along with the individuals acting in front of the camera. My hope is that the raw excitement of Mardi Gras flows through each portrait. The subject fills the entire frame of the Polaroid as if the print itself were a stage just for them. Mardi Gras allows both the individual and the photographer a moment of freedom to observe a transformation into another reality of being.

As I see it, the major themes of the book, whether subtle or overt, are: mask, carnival, past time, memory, identity, creativity, fun and abandon, reverie, costume, altered realities, and transformation.

The book is hardbound, 88 pages, 8.7 x 7.2 inches, with 47 beautifully reproduced photographs, printed in Spain in a four-color printing process. It includes a penetrating four-page essay by Joanna Madloch on the nature and history of Carnival. This is a limited-edition book, only 400 will be printed. The price is $45. It is published by Zatara Press, an independent, small press photography book publishing company created by Andrew Fedynak to give voice to a variety of projects through the medium of unique “artist styled photobooks”. Then and There will not be available at Amazon, but rather at specialty book stores and those featuring photo/art books. If you would like a signed and personally inscribed book, or have questions, please contact me at

88 pages + front/back covers
47 color photographs
Hardcover 220mm x 183mm / 8.7 x 7.2 inches
Four-color UV offset printing process
Hand-tipped in front/back cover photographs
Essay by Joanna Madloch
Book design by Andrew Fedynak
Limited edition: 400 copies
Retail price: $45