Catch Da Cat is a coffee table book that speaks straight to the heart. It's a combination of photograph and soulful poems about life and people in Cat Island.
Junkanoo - The Spirit of a People
It took me seven years before I went to a Junkanoo Parade. I have loved The Bahamas for many years, since the first time I visited in 2008. In fact, it’s the beauty of these islands which led me to buy my first camera and in the years to follow become a photographer.
I had heard about Junkanoo, but most of what I knew back then came from the James Bond Thunderball movie and some paintings I had seen around Nassau. I was drawn to wanting to experience Junkanoo, but the problem was it was happening in the middle of the night, and at night, I like to sleep! I finally made up my mind and ventured out to the 2015 Junkanoo Boxing Day Parade on Bay Street. I still vividly remember the energy and rhythm that pervaded me. It was so exciting to see all the people in costumes, dancing, drumming, making music, and shaking their cowbells. If I had to pick one single thing that I like best about Junkanoo,
I'd say the cowbells!
I'd say the cowbells!
I loved the parade so much that I gladly gave up more sleep and went back to see Junkanoo in 2016.
I was also fortunate between parades to get to visit some of the Junkanoo shacks where the costumes are made by hand, and to see some of the practices. I really love the atmosphere of the practices and seeing the fire used to heat and tighten the goatskins on the powerful drums. It’s very spiritual and profound.
The photographs in this book are from both the 2015 and 2016 Junkanoo Parades in Nassau. In putting together this coffee table book, I do not pretend to be an expert on Junkanoo or its history. This book is my humble salute to the artistry and vibrant energy of the Bahamian people as experienced during these parades.
Along with the photos here, I also include quotes from Bahamian friends, acquaintances, and people I briefly met along the way. I asked them two simple questions: “What does Junkanoo mean to you?”, and, “Do you have any favorite memory of Junkanoo?”. Their answers hold a variety of perspectives as well as shared moments of enthusiasm and personal connection to this unique celebration.
It was only after experiencing Junkanoo in person that I could more fully understand and appreciate the deeper spirit of The Bahamian people. I now can sense this spirit, in the air, in the breeze, in the breath of the immense Atlantic Ocean connecting the land of Africa with the land of The Bahamas.