Claude Lindsey prefers to experience Mardi Gras through a camera’s lens.
For 18 years, he has photographed the party at Baton Rouge and New Orleans parades and balls during Carnival season.
Lindsey delights in sharing the photos with friends and family.
“You can tell somebody how much fun you’ve had,” he said, “but when they see the pictures, it tells the story.”
At 2 p.m. Sunday, Lindsey will present his most interesting photos at the Carver Branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. He will show his favorite pictures and share the memorabilia he has collected from his favorite parades.
The operations manager for the library system, Lindsey, 49, manages repairs and maintenance at library branches. And he is rarely without a camera.
Lindsey became interested in photography in the mid-1990s. At first, he shot pictures of his air-conditioning work to post on his website so potential clients could see it.
Then Lindsey took some photography classes and became what he calls a “serious amateur.”
“I try to hold myself to the professional standards,” he said. “You shoot the shots that will give you quality portraits. Like I say, I’m not the best, but I’ve seen a whole lot worse, and they get paid for it.”
Growing up in Baton Rouge, Lindsey and his family would visit family in New Orleans every year at Mardi Gras.
“We would try to catch the parades that had the good throws,” Lindsey said.
As an adult, he loved the parades for other reasons.
“The world’s biggest free party,” he said. “When you’re there, it doesn’t matter what racial make up you come from, economic or social status. Once you’re there, you’re there. You’re just having fun, taking your time, taking it in.”
During parades, Lindsey tries to capture an “exclusive,” a candid shot of krewe members strutting and dancing.
“The ones that are actually having fun, that’s what I try to catch,” he said.
Every picture reveals a bit of south Louisiana’s character.
“It tells the story,” Lindsey said. “The party doesn’t stop ’til we drop.”