There’s lots to look forward to in October in my neck of the woods—fall foliage kicks in, the temperature and humidity drop (eventually), and then there’s the annual Somerville [Massachusetts] Honk! Festival. Now in its 12th year, the festival was founded by an activist band to promote peace, social justice, and civic engagement. Since its inception, the Somerville HONK! has inspired similar festivals throughout the US and as far away as Australia.
The Somerville HONK! lasts three days and features more than 25 walking bands (mostly brass), folks on stilts, outrageous costumes, political causes, and more. The signature event is a parade that starts in Davis Square, Somerville, winds its way into Cambridge along Massachusetts Avenue, and ends about a mile down the road in Harvard Square where various bands briefly perform on a raised platform. (See the 2017 schedule here.)
Some of the participants just wear street clothes, while others push the limits of sartorial splendor. As much as I loved seeing the abundance of vibrant and wild colors, I decided to shoot in black and white. Sometimes, color can be a distraction in street photography; black and white cuts straight to the essence of the moment. As the legendary Canadian photojournalist Ted Grant so aptly put it: “When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”
Here’s a sample of my attempt to cut through the colorful wrappings and capture the spirit of the festival.
If your curiosity is really piqued by this post, check out this in-depth Wikipedia article on the founding and history of HONK! here.