February 2, 2015

Photos and Words by Colin Williams


Colin Williams is our go-to source for rich, colorful of shots of Trinidad & Tobago. The Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-based photographer has a sharp, critical eye for images of Carnival, training his lens beyond the feting and the wining to capture the true culture and history of Mas, as seen in his previous LargeUp photo essays highlighting Carnival and Canboulay, the grassroots historical pageant that takes place in downtown Port-of-Spain before dawn on the Friday before Carnival (“Fantastic Friday”).

With this year’s Carnival just two weeks away, here’s a look back at Carnival 2014, as seen through Colin’s lens.

I have gone to Trinidad Carnival from 2006, only missing one year. What I’ve noted when I look at the pictures from Carnival over the years, in news or social media, is that most of the images are one-dimensional, the main focus being on feathers and bikinis.

I don’t have a problem with looking at great bodies under the Caribbean sun. But I don’t see Trinidad Carnival as that one-dimensional event it has seemingly become. So I have always tried to get strong images from all of Trinidad Carnival. The Old Mas. The Midnight Mas. The Original Mas. The Dirty Mas. The Oil. The Mud. The Pan. The Jab. The Kids. The Old People. The Onlookers. As long as you came out to enjoy what Trinidad Carnival is all about, I’ll try to get that one strong image to tell the story, and the whole story.

I try to show and take the images that people don’t look at anymore or the photographers don’t pay attention to. The Flag Man or Woman. The man pushing the pan, the kids playing pan, the wild Indian, and the Iron Man. Without him, we can’t move.