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David Simpson - Courir


128 pages
Edited by Olivier Duport
Photograph(s) by David Simpson
24 x 17 cm
Language: French, English
Publisher: FLEE Project

Photographer David Simpson opens his 30-year archive on Louisiana's rural Mardi Gras traditions.

Every year, as Ash Wednesday approaches, rural communities in Southwest Louisiana come alive with Mardi Gras courirs—spirited runs where costumed revellers embark on a captivating journey.

David Simpson, through his lens, captures the enchanting Mardi Gras in a photographic narrative, as they go from house to house, singing, dancing, and begging for ingredients to create a communal "gumbo" feast. The rich symbolism behind the costumes, from high-pointed conical hats parodying noble headdresses to handmade masks concealing identities with exaggerated facial features here, is a passionate portrayal of roles that mock authority, a tradition deeply rooted in Cajun and Creole heritages in a compiled archival work by David Simpson spanning over thirty years.

Amidst the festive quest and perhaps fueled by a bit of alcohol, the "Mardi Gras" participants find liberation from the restraints of everyday life, creating a gaudy pageant that is both raucous and jubilant based on rural traditions dating back to medieval times. This photography work stands as a homage to their time-honoured tradition.