A frequent wish of mine is to be invisible, or at least have a silent camera. My quest to capture and preserve organic reality all too often becomes scarred with the presence of my one eye mechanical contraption obtrusively snap, snap, snapping away.

One spring weekend on the coast of Italy, my dream came true. We traveled to Viareggio for the photo opportunity and to take in the historical carnival, what we found was a chaotic Sunday afternoon loss of self and society. We shuffled off the train and followed the clear flow of people towards the music and colors of the parade that marched along the sea. Men dressed as nuns, entire families dressed as Tigers, teenage boys as ballerinas; the spectacle was nothing compared to the chaotic masquerade which breathed around the next corner.

As we came to the entrance of the carnival we caught glimpses of the satiric 50 foot floats that circled around the hoards of captivated attendants. We slipped into the crowds and cautiously took out our cameras to begin our documentation. Normally, the camera must be introduced to a social situation with great care as not to disrupt the scene, but in Viareggio, we found one could snap away and never be noticed.

Our newly acquired super human powers made for a day of hallowed exploration in the gray area outside reality. Italians from all over the country embraced the facade, clearly forgetting their worries and responsibilities within the parade parameters. While I had experienced festivals and carnivals in the USA nothing came close to matching the energy and magic invoked by the Carnival of Viareggio.

Soon the sun completely set on our daydream. We walked along the dusky beach, the snowcapped mountains, shining in the background, added to the unreal setting. The night grew colder and the parade lumbered to a halt, the hoards of people exited toward the train and which would bring us back to our homes, realities and to ourselves.

For pictures from this adventure check out Viagreggio Carnival in my photo gallery.

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