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A Journey around the World... through Carnival!

Themed Collections

16 January 2018

Posted by Philip Mowbray

A time of joy and celebration for billions across the world - carnival season is approaching. And we're all familiar with the extravagant parades, colourful costumes and jovial atmosphere throughout Brazil, and the grandeur of carnival in Venice at this time of year.  The history of carnival is rather complicated (more of which you can read about here), but originally it is believed to derive from the requirement to 'drive-out' lingering Winter spirits. Traditionally this meant the donning of exuberant, grotesque and downright bizarre costumes, worn during ritualistic processions.  However, throughout history carnival has also been commonly associated with the Christian-observed (predominantly Catholic) season before Lent, with carnival a time of celebration and hedonism where anything out-of-the-ordinary is embraced; bodies are disguised in extravagant costume and food and alcohol are consumed to excess.   

When it comes to carnival today tradition continues to reign, but across the globe, different cultures and nations have interpreted this 'right of passage' with their own unique flair. Some mainstream carnival celebrations attract hundreds of thousands of revellers from around the world and communities are transformed into an unrecognisable sea of colour and music for a short period of time.  Some carnivals, however, remain remarkably true to their origin; shrouded in folklore and mystery and celebrated even in the smallest of hamlets - with local participants head-to-toe in terrifying costumes, worn to chase Winter into hibernation once again.  

On our mission to provide more authentic, diverse and representative photography to image buyers, we are proud to showcase some of most truly unique images of carnival season sourced from our ever-strong and ever-growing network of photographers across the globe. Not only do we have excellent coverage of the favourites: Rio, Venice and New Orleans, but we also represent stunning work from photographers who have travelled to some of the most far-flung destinations to capture the magic of these spectacular events. Be enchanted with our trip around the world through carnival festivities.  

Extravagant costumes during Carnevale di Venezia

Extravagant costumes during Carnevale di Venezia Read less

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Natasha Balletta

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Man with Van Gogh carnival mask in Venice

Man with Van Gogh carnival mask in Venice Read less

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Neven Milinković

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Mardi Gras beads and throws on St. Charles Avenue after the parade in New Orleans

Mardi Gras beads and throws on St. Charles Avenue after the parade in New Orleans Read less

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Stockimo

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Samba dancer in the carnival parade, City of Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Samba dancer in the carnival parade, City of Rio de Janeiro Brazil Read less

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robertharding

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Brazilian women dancing to Samba music at carnival

Brazilian women dancing to Samba music at carnival Read less

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Filipe Frazao

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Reveller smoking during Sao Paulo Carnaval

Reveller smoking during Sao Paulo Carnaval Read less

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Fabrica Media

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Drum band Olodum performing in Pelourinho during carnival, Bahia, Brazil

Drum band Olodum performing in Pelourinho during carnival, Bahia, Brazil Read less

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robertharding

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Long necked masks during carneval in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Long necked masks during carneval in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Read less

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robertharding

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Sydney Mardi Gras, 2010

Sydney Mardi Gras, 2010 Read less

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Andy Tyler

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Malta Carnavalis held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a... Read more

Malta Carnavalis held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival). Read less

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Philip Enticknap

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Gilles, La Louvière's Carnival, Belgium

Gilles, La Louvière's Carnival, Belgium Read less

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Fabrice Plas

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Unidentified masked participants at the Mohacsi Busojaras carnival in Mohacs, Hungary

Unidentified masked participants at the Mohacsi Busojaras carnival in Mohacs, Hungary Read less

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Istvan Csak

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Carnival parade on Shrove Monday (Rosenmontag) in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Carnival parade on Shrove Monday (Rosenmontag) in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Read less

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Vibrant Pictures

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Carnival in Zagreb, Croatia

Carnival in Zagreb, Croatia Read less

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Rajko Simunovic

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Detail of the parade float during the Carnival of Acireale on the island of Sicily, Italy

Detail of the parade float during the Carnival of Acireale on the island of Sicily, Italy Read less

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Alfredo Steccanella

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Fasnact spring carnival parade in Basel, Switzerland

Fasnact spring carnival parade in Basel, Switzerland Read less

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robertharding

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Participants in colourful costumes take part in the carnival parade in Badajoz, Spain

Participants in colourful costumes take part in the carnival parade in Badajoz, Spain Read less

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Lorenzo

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Traditional celebration of dance and fire in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain

Traditional celebration of dance and fire in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain Read less

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David Guija

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Fasnact spring carnival fire festival in Liestal, Switzerland

Fasnact spring carnival fire festival in Liestal, Switzerland Read less

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robertharding

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Sparklers lit during carnival in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain

Sparklers lit during carnival in Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain Read less

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David Guija

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A young man putting on his scary sheep fur mask. Photographed during a traditional Bulgarian festival for banishing evil spirits called "Surva" in Pernik, Bulgaria

A young man putting on his scary sheep fur mask. Photographed during a traditional Bulgarian festival for banishing evil spirits called "Surva" in Pernik, Bulgaria Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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Masked participants in scary fur costumes, holding burning torches while marching at Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games, Bulgaria

Masked participants in scary fur costumes, holding burning torches while marching at Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games, Bulgaria Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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Scary child's mask during Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games, Bulgaria

Scary child's mask during Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games, Bulgaria Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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Partygoer with an oversized mask during Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games

Partygoer with an oversized mask during Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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