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.