I have gone to the Notting Hill Carnival almost every year since 1997 and taken pictures there every year since 2005. On the first few occasions images were captured using my camera phone but more recently I’ve been using my digital SLR. Every year the carnival changes and the challenges, which surface, are quite different. In 2011, the year riots broke out in London, I recall the tension and the rumors that another riot would occur and I remember the police presence was so dominant that it felt difficult to enjoy yourself and thus taking photos of others enjoying themselves was problematic. This year, unlike most others, I set myself specific goals, such as: try to focus on the performers, get behind the scenes a little, try to see the carnival as less of an event and more as a story, with chapters, characters and even protagonists, most importantly; try to show the carnival at it’s most daring, it’s most colourful and it’s most fun. Whether or not I achieved any of this is not really for me to decide. But in the event of me not doing so I chose to add a poem to my collection, which, hopefully, encapsulates the overall sensation experienced in capturing the carnival.
To view images from last year go to: Shortsighted
A Carnival in Notting Hill
Seas of faces swim in colour,
Are drowned in colour,
Are re shaped by smiles.
Faces are born again,
Dancing in ridiculous patterns
To sun flavoured music.
To rainbows in beats.
Beats opening like flowers
A warm rhythm.
A tropical rhythm
Invites you in for a dance.
A dance between cultures.
Sound waves crash against each other.
Satellite signals fail.
Mobiles are immobilised.
Civilisation pauses for a moment.
Public transport stops.
Nature flaws modern technology.
At least partially.
Nature has invited us in for a dance.
And we don’t regret it.
© David Kwaw Mensah
David Kwaw Mensah is a London born and based photographer, creative writer and film critic. His obsession with all things cinematic has led him to numerous experiments with filmmaking and eventually to the world of photographic stills, where, from behind the camera, he weaves stories, philosophical queries and poetry, attempting always to find the beauty in everyday life. On his blog, shortsighted.blogspot.com, which mostly explores all of the above, he is currently addressing the significance of the photographic portrait in a series titled Everyday People, and the ways in which a portrait can be deemed as an integral part of the narrative of a human life. @DavidKwawMensah Facebook: David Kwaw Mensah
Need a dance partner bro.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down? *sassy face*
Oh I got the moves, these hips don’t lie.
Don’t just stand there, join in!
For the uninitiated, this be called ‘the worm’
This old chestnut is ‘rowing the boat’
Rhythm’s got us, it got you too?!
Yeah we’re good!
Early carnival goers argue with the police about the chain one of them is wearing. According to the police this chain is potentially dangerous. The carnival goer insists that he wears the chain every year and that it’s not dangerous at all. What appears to be escalating into a tense situation transforms completely when the policemen and the carnival goers start exchanging light hearted banter with each other.
- PHOTOS: Mas Domnik Notting Hill Carnival 2013 (dominicanewsonline.com)
- Pictures:The Nigerian Corner at the Notting Hill Carnival 2013 (remedixmusicpro.wordpress.com)