Fee and Art’s features a solo exhibition of vintage Mardi Gras images by Portland-based photographer Robbie McClaran.
In 1979, twenty four years old and fresh out of art school, I moved to New Orleans with little more than a backpack and a camera bag. Within a few days I found a slave quarters apartment in the French Quarter and began spending most waking hours photographing on the streets.
By a quirk of history, that same year the New Orleans Police Department staged a strike during Mardi Gras and most of the public events were cancelled. Many tourists stayed home, yet to this day some locals recall it as one the best Mardi Gras ever.
This was also a time before the arrival of AIDS, and the final days of the sexual revolution. Public nudity and sexual display were pervasive and revelers eagerly performed for my camera.
Initially I was hesitant to show the photographs publicly because of their overt sexuality. After more than thirty five years in storage, this is the first publication of these images from my one and only Mardi Gras. – Robbie McClaran
Robbie McClaran is an editorial, advertising, documentary and fine art photographer based in Portland, Oregon. His work has been widely published and exhibited. His editorial work has appeared in diverse publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Time, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Runner’s World, Bloomberg and Forbes.
Robbie’s personal work has been featured in Plazm, Life Magazine – Our Century in Pictures, Photo District News, The Photo Review and ID Design and has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, American Photography, The New York Art Director’s Club, Graphis and Communication Arts. His work is held in several collections, including the Portland Museum of Art, the University of Oregon, Special Collections Library and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. In 2014 Robbie received a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ford Family Foundation.