Who’d have thought a festival could generate so many diverse books? The Latin parties of Rio de Janeiro, Venice and Louisiana’s various Mardi Gras events are world famous but this Roman Catholic-based pre-Lent festival also occurs in the Caribbean, Germany’s Rhineland, Denmark, Portugal and various cities in South America with countless regional variations (including, oddly enough, the Protestant-based Shrove Tuesday celebration in Britain) along the way.
Many of these events are so colorful, so vibrant, so eye-catching that they have sparked photo-books, and books about the costumes, customs and masks. Carnival has also inspired travel books, children’s stories, cook books and fiction too.
This feature also extends to the less glamorous but just as interesting small-town touring carnivals and fairs of Britain and the U.S. – the rides, the freak shows, the architecture and even America’s carnival-carrying trains have been subjected to analysis and the camera.
A rare 1974 photo-book with 50+ images and an interview with Bonge by James Leo Herlihy