Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!
Mardi Gras season officially kicks off today, and if you’re from Louisiana, then this is probably one of your favorite times of the year. Whether it’s a small local parade or a big city celebration, nothing can quite compare to the bustle and excitement of Mardi Gras in the South. But have you ever thought about who captures these moments? Who brings these memories to life with dynamic photos and videos that tell stories of the revelry and celebration that makes this time of the year so unique? One such photographer is Louisiana native John Weatherall, who specializes in capturing Mardi Gras with fun-filled videos that capture perfect moments along parade routes. In this blog post, we’ll find out who his influences are and why he loves Mardi Gras so much.
(Side note: I had the privilege of teaching John and have enjoyed watching his success grow every year. And with my own love of Mardi Gras, this was a fun blog to do!)
How long have you been taking pictures?
My interest in photography started back in April of 2007. My parents purchased a Sanyo Point and Shoot Camera for me to take photos of the family. It wasn’t until November ’07, during my Junior Year at Northside High whenever they invested in a Sony A100 DSLR. From there, my interest grew tremendously!
My interest in videography started in the late 1990s. My Mom and Dad filmed all of our home movies growing up and showed me and my sisters how to operate the VHS camera. It wasn’t until January 2001 whenever I was able to operate the camera on my own. We were on our way to Baton Rouge to visit my sister, and I was able to document our trip to and from that; I fell in love with photography! I still have that video saved at home.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
It would have to be my love for capturing moments that most people don’t think of or forget to capture. Going through our family photo albums, I would always say, “Why didn’t we get this moment on photo or video?” but of course, I feel the best moments are whenever you’re not documenting and living in the moment. But my goal is to capture those moments that people tend to not think about!
Who are some people that have influenced you throughout your career?
Photography-wise, I’d have to say Dave Hill, Alex Stoddard, Brooke Shaden, and more recently Joe Greer (Film Photographer). Videography-wise, I’d have to say Ray Roman Films, Dennis Films, and Hype Williams!
Tell us what your favorite projects have been so far.
Definitely my Mardi Gras recap videos I put out every year. They have taken a life of their own for sure. Aside from Mardi Gras, I’d have to go with my We Ready Saints Hype Video I shot back in 2019. I remember that week being crazy because I traveled all down I-10 from Lake Charles to New Orleans, filming different Saints fans all in four days!
Now, speaking of Mardi Gras and the subject of this interview, let’s assume it’s someone’s first Mardi Gras. What advice do you give him or her?
Prepare for a long day! No seriously. Mardi Gras is a great experience but can be draining if you don’t prepare for what’s ahead. My advice would be to stay hydrated at all times, be sure to check out the parade route in advance to pick a spot you want to set up. Arrive early!
Everyone is like family along the parade route, so you’re bound to meet new friends and have fun before the parade rolls. I’ve also received messages from people who are unsure about attending a parade alone. Trust me, it’s just as fun. Since 2004, I’ve been attending several parades by myself and have always had a great experience. Lastly, have fun and catch lots of beads!
What’s your favorite thing about Mardi Gras?
The people. I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve met over the years at the parades that I still keep in contact with to this day! Can’t forget about the King cakes. My go-to spots are Meches and Jak’s Donuts for their King Cake Cronuts.
Where can we find you on social media?
I’m on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter under @johneweatherall and YouTube under John Weatherall III.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Be sure to look for me on the Krewe De Krunk float during Mardi Gras. And also special thanks to my parents John and Prenella Weatherall for getting me started in videography as a kid, my best friend Gerald Gruenig for pushing me to post Mardi Gras content on TikTok, which blew up in 2022, and lastly Lance Ruffins with Krewe De Krunk.
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