Jason Gardner tells stories, using photography and video within the framework of Visual Anthropology. He is passionate about music, culture, and ritual, and how they impact human expression.

For over 15 years, throughout 15 countries, Jason has visually documented the ritual and festival of Carnival, focusing on traditional, folkloric, and community celebrations. His second book, We the Spirits, will be published by  GOST Books, UK (December ’23 Europe, Feb ’24 United States). In 2013, Jason published A Flower in the Mouth, a photobook about the culture, music and rituals of Carnaval in Pernambuco, Brazil (VA Press, USA).

In 2022, his project was selected as a Top 50 portfolio by Photolucida’s Critical Mass, and GEO Magazine France published a ten-page portfolio of his work. His photography has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Financial Times, Sunday Times Magazine (UK), Rolling Stone, Le Parisien, Foto Magazin (Germany), New York Magazine, NPR.org, and SPIN Magazine.  

Clients include Con Edison, HBO, TED Talks, Dassault Systèmes, Electrolux, Grand Central Station, Samsung Corporation, N-Y Historical Society, Freshworks, Ogilvy & Mather, Direct TV, Pfizer, Big Brothers Big Sisters NY, and Human Rights Watch.

A selection of forty photographs from We the Spirits will be on display in the exhibition Costume and Masquerade: at the Stadhaus in Ulm, Germany, from 11 November 2023 18 February 2024. The project was selected to be exhibited at the Mois de la Photo OFF Photography festival in Paris. Lincoln Center hosted an exhibition of Jason’s work at the Out of Doors Festival. New Orleans Jazz Fest has hosted an exhibition and presentation of his work. The Brazilian Consulate General Los Angeles presented an exhibition of his work, as well as the Consulates of San Francisco and NY.

Other exhibitions include BY Chatel Galerie Paris; Cinémorphe Paris; Maison des Cultures du Monde (Vitré) France; Mairie XVème Paris; Audacieuse Galerie (Geneva); Bartcelona Gallery (Belgrade); Rayko Gallery (San Francisco, CA); Photoville (Brooklyn, NY); PhotoPlace Gallery (Vermont); Uma Nota Festival (Toronto); The Brazilian Consulates General of Los Angeles, San Francisco & New York; Art From the Heart Brooklyn; and the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (BEA) New York.

He is a board member at-large, NY Chapter, of The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and co-founder of creative networking community Toasted Almonds, having launched a Paris chapter of Toasted Almonds (Amandes Grillées).

Jason divides his time between New York and Paris. 

Scotland, 2019. Photo by C. Angoff

Par le biais de la photographie et de la vidéo, Jason Gardner est « anthropologiste visuel ». Américain d’origine et installé à Paris depuis quatre ans, Jason a des passions pour la musique, la culture et les rituels de tous les peuples. Il trouve l’ensemble de ces passions dans la tradition du carnaval. Aventurier, Jason a voyagé partout au monde pour photographier les carnavals de Bulgarie, Slovénie, Sardaigne, Bahamas, Guinée-Bissau, du pays basque et de la Nouvelle-Orléans.

En 2013, il a publié « A Flower in the Mouth » sur la musique, la culture et les rituels du carnaval de Pernambuco au Brésil. Ses œuvres sont apparues dans The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Photo District News, New York Magazine et SPIN magazine et sa liste de clients inclus HBO, Samsung et Human Rights Watch. Il travaille actuellement sur un nouveau projet intitulé « Au Retour de Carnaval : Rites, Racines, Rebels » qui a récemment été sélectionné pour le festival Mois de la Photo à Paris. Il a également montré ses œuvres au Lincoln Center, New Orleans Jazz Fest, The Brazilian Consulate General à Los Angeles, Vienna Photo Book Fair, Uma Nota Festival à Toronto et à Paris au Chatel Galerie et à la Mairie du XVème.


In my practice, I document visually various aspects of a culture, and how it is celebrated, both venerating traditions and looking forward.

I am interested in what constitutes cultures and most especially how they are celebrated, from honoring traditions to envisaging the future. By focusing on cultural manifestations such as music, dance, festival, and spectacle, as well as symbols, street art, glyphs, costumes, or shrines in a closet, I capture the intangible, visually translating the symbolic connections of what might not be visible at first glance.

Placing my photographic practice within the framework of Visual Anthropology, I hope to tell stories by focusing on cultures, traditions and practices which often happen behind the public’s view. I capture things that build up to define the cultural milieu and community’s regional identities. I look for that ineffable moment of transformation in a ceremony, the traditional song or costume epitomizing regional pride and identity, a symbol representing a culture, these all combine to reflect the culture.

I wish to reveal some of the diversity of the spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional landscape of a community. Making the connections among the various manifestations, to show their relationship with each other, and how they interlock, helps to form my view of the culture I am documenting. These displays of culture are significant, to me, in that they represent one of the more profound ways that humans can express themselves.

Firebuilders Live interviews Jason Gardner about Visual Anthropology and his book publishing projects.

Interview with Red Penguin Publishing about A Flower in the Mouth project.

Let's talk about your project.

If you would like to discuss an assignment, whether on location or in the studio, in Paris, New York or beyond,
please schedule a Zoom call so we can talk about your requirements, schedule, budget, and how I can help.


Grand Central Terminal
The New York Times
Samsung Corporation
Ogilvy & Mather
Con Edison
Human Rights Watch
New-York Historical Society
The Sporkful
Best Buy
Dassault Systèmes
Zebra Technologies
Big Brothers Big Sisters New York
BRIC / Celebrate Brooklyn
NY School of Interior Design
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
UJA Federation of New York
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
NYC Department of Education
Oxford University Press
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Epitaph Records
PR Newswire
Putumayo Records
ION Television
Vineyard Vines
The Park Central Hotel
Smith College
Northeastern University
Tina Brozman Foundation


The Guardian
Financial Times
This is Colossal
L’Oeil de la Photographie
Sunday Times Magazine (UK)
GEO Magazine France
The New York Times
Rolling Stone France
Studio 360 / WNYC
NY1 / Time Warner
New York Magazine
Time Out New York
New Orleans Jazz Fest
United Nations Alliance
Oxford University Press
Le Parisien
Boston Globe
B&H Eventspace
Photo District News
Huffington Post
New York Observer
The Washington Post
SPIN Magazine
Metro New York
Afropop Worldwide
Harvard Magazine
MOJO Magazine
Downbeat Magazine
Songlines UK
Soul Bag Magazine
Trace Magazine
Afrikaada Art Review
Adelphi Magazine
ASMP Bulletin
Harp Magazine
Rio Times
La Region Ourense


“Costume and Masquerade,” Stadthaus Ulm, Germany, February 2024

“Global Carnival,” Caerbladon Gallery, Malmesbury, UK, 2023

Center for Photographic Art, California, selected for International Juried Exhibition, 2022

“Masques d’Europe”, Maison des Cultures du Monde, Vitré, France, 2021

“Au Retour de Carnaval,” Bartcelona Gallery, Serbia, 2019

“Au Retour de Carnaval,” Audacieuse Galerie, Geneva, 2019

Retour de Carnaval: Rites, Racines, Rebels,” Mois de la Photo OFF, Paris, 2019

Nord,” Charenton-le-Pont, Paris, 2019

Portraits de Carnaval,” Galerie BY Chatel, Paris, 2018

Biennale de la Photographie,” group show, Mairie XVème, Paris, 2018

Best of ASMP, Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2016

  “A Flower in the Mouth,” New Orleans Jazzfest, Louisiana, 2014

Uma Flor Na Boca,” Livraria da Cultura, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014

Pernambucana,” Uma Nota Festival, Toronto, 2014

A Flower in the Mouth,” solo exhibition at Lincoln Center, NY, 2013

Images of Pernambuco,” Brazilian Consulates San Francisco, New York, & Los Angeles, 2010-2013


Featured Lecturer, Festival Internacional Mascara Iberica, Lisbon, Portugal, 2019

Cultural sponsorship by Brazilian Consulate of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, 2010-2013

A Flower in The Mouth selected Athens Photobook Festival, 2018


GEO Magazine France, “L’œil du Photographe,” March 2022

Canxar Anthropological Journal, “Return to Carnaval,” October 2021

La Region Ourense, “Entroido llega hasta Pernambuco,” February 2020

Afrikaada Art Revue, “Orixàs Healing,” 2019

Le Parisien, “Carnaval de Dunkerque,” 2018