By Stephen Weir
The recent news of the cancellation of the 2020 Toronto Caribbean Carnival may have shocked and disappointed many mas’ aficionados.
But Anthony Berot, a well known Toronto photographer, is about to release a book which will once more bring the carnival alive – in pictures.
Berot who has probably taken more pictures of Toronto carnival events than any other living photographer, will release tomorrow his Carnival Arts Collection, an on-line magazine- style digital photo book that both ” pays tribute to the carnival that might have been and recalls the great events of carnivals gone by. ”
Berot’s picture tells the full story of mas’. His backstage pictures of all aspects of Toronto’s annual jump up reveal how the magic of Carnival is put together.
You may not have met Berot but you may have seen him at work. It might have been on the parade route of North America’s largest street festival, or in the photographers’ corral at a midnight costume launch (Imagine a mosh pit filled with people madly pointing and clicking their Canons and Nikons at everyone wearing feathers,).
Or you may have seen him taking pictures of 3,000 children dressed in mas’ costumes, proudly dancing their way through Malvern at the annual Kiddies Carnival Parade. Berot has been taking pictures of the annual parade of youngsters for such a long time long that he is now photographing children of the children whose images he first captured at the parade.
Berot has been described as “a permanent fixture ” in Toronto when it comes to covering all aspects of the carnival arts. Fifi. Connector. Dick Lochan… you name them. Berot and his cameras have been at every calypso monarch contest this century, taking pictures of the very best performers Canada has produced.
Machel Montano, Destra, David Rudder and Ozzie Gurley are among a long list of international soca stars whom he has photographed on stage in Toronto. And that’s not all. Marches. Press conferences. Blockos. Fund Raising Fish Fries. Community Funerals. They all have one thing in common – the ever-present Anthony Berot with his Canon.
For over ten years he has taken his cameras where no other photographer has ventured. He has won the respect of models, promoters, stars and mas’ enthusiasts.. He is super professional but is also known to dance and sing in the photography pit, waiting for an event to start. Even as he “wines”, he manages to take world-class pictures .
Still can’t remember seeing him? Well, you have seen his work in art galleries, in magazines, in popular TV shows and The Caribbean Camera. His presence online is unparalleled. Punch in Toronto Caribbean Carnival into Google Images and you will see his work both authorized and not. His pictures are probably the most “borrowed” ones out there.
Why is his art in so much demand? It is a matter of love and trust. His love for the Caribbean arts and the trust that he has won in the hearts of the people he is photographing. They know his work is capturing the soul, the beauty and the history of Canadian Caribbean Carnival.
“As a dedicated carnival photographer and advocate for Caribbean culture, I’ve created this collection to bring to light the legacy of Caribbean Carnivals to all who love this celebration of freedom but do not know or forgot why we celebrate this way or why we play mas,” explains Berot.
This Trinidadian Canadian photographer is officially a senior but his pictures will forever be filled with youthful exuberance. As a Carnival photographer his work will never age.
Berot is a cultural advocate and founder of the Canadian Caribbean Photographic Arts Collective. He has published several limited edition books about the Canadian carnival arts scene and has produced numerous television shows about carnival, calypso and pan.
He is the official Photographer/Videographer and Media Partner for the annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and A Different Booklist Cultural Centre.
“Growing up in Trinidad, I was deeply involved in cultural productions and mas’ making. With this Carnival Arts Collection, I hope to share my knowledge, photography and that of others with similar experiences in all factions of the Carnival Arts,” he said.
The highly colourful first volume of his Carnival Arts Collection is free and there are seven more free volumes in the works. The link to the Carnival Arts Collection is: https://indd.adobe.com/view/95006abd-5964-475b-b631-dd93becb3456