Kris Davidson@hellokrisdavidson

Sentient star dust reporting from planet Earth.

http://www.krisdavidson.com/

And here he is, our title character Ponce de Leon himself, peering through the palms in Lakeland, Florida. Stay tuned for more images from Florida to come soon, with Texas, New Mexico and Georgia to follow! #TheAmericanImagination #TallTales #PonceDeLeon


6

The American Imagination in action: Florida is overflowing with whimsical, surreal scenes — the state is peppered with imaginative theme parks that have long-catered to vacationers and dreamers. Pictured here: A thirsty dinosaur at a spring at Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida. #TheAmericanImagination #TallTales #Dinosaur


4

I’m so excited to give you all a preview of one of my new America-centric projects — and this is one for the long haul! I plan to go to every state in the USA and visually recreate a myth, tall tale or legend; the fantastical image will then be blended with documentary style images that give a sense of place and the emotional personality and mood of the area. Why? I love this country and it’s time to find new ways, hopefully constructive ways, to talk and listen to each other. I say we start with out tall tales, myths and legends 😊
With that, here is an image from the Florida chapter which traces the state’s most recent origin story, Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth. Pictured here, a mermaid at the Weeki Watchee Springs State Park. She performs underwater alongside her mermaid sisters in an underwater arena built into a natural spring. #TheAmericanImagination #TallTales #WeekiWatchee #mermaid


10

Scenes like this are best part of being a morning person: Magical full moon setting at dawn over San Francisco last month ❤️


9

That improbable glittering mirage in the desert, Las Vegas is America on steroids. Animated billboards beam tantalizing messages of things to buy, beautiful people to see at this show or that one. There are no straight lines in all of the strip — all destinations require dizzying journeys through casinos, winding, windowless paths full of smoke and mirrors and couture. It is a city with an allergy to clocks, time is protracted and contracted, all at once, like in a magical realism novel. Last time I was there, on assignment, I did find a momentary reprieve from the strangeness of Vegas — as we slipped under a bridge at the Venetian, the signs fell away from view, and the classically trained gondolier’s voice echoed off the walls and water — my heart slowed, soothed by a Puccini aria from La Bohème. #lasvegas #opera


4

A few days ago, I walked across the US/Mexico border into Tijuana at dawn to shoot a story for Grazia, a French culture and lifestyle magazine. I was tasked with covering the wine region, Valle de Guadalupe, which has been beckoning discerning winemakers and celebrity chefs for a while. Since I returned I have been meditating on ways in which travel reportage can be a form of subtle, gentle activism. It is an honor to add a positive voice to a largely negative narrative about our Southern neighbors.
Pictured in this set: Peaceful pacific views, mariachi in Ensenada, wine named after the colors of a Mexican sunset, the prettiest plate of oysters I have ever seen, flaming cocktails and a selfie by a fire at an Encuentro ecohab (could not find any models in the hills). Definitely worth a visit! #Mexico #Valledeguadalupe


20

“Everything in Louisiana is about layers. There are layers of race, layers of class, layers of survival, layers of death, and layers of rebirth. To live with these layers is to be a true Louisianian. This state has a depth that is simultaneously beyond words and yet as natural as breathing. How can a place be both other-worldly and completely pedestrian is beyond me; however, Louisiana manages to do it.” — Don Lemon, Transparent

Pictured here: Man with chicken at the Courier de Mardi Gras in Eunice. Happy Mardi Gras, Louisiana! I love you. #MardiGras #Cajun #Americana


7

Young or old? Sweet or ominous? Just another colorful, Cajun Mardi Gras mystery along the parade route. #mardigras #americana #Cajun


0

The Courier de Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana is a 15-mile music and dance filled "run" through the rural bayou-land with costumed revelers play-acting at begging, rooted in the fête de la quémande ("feast of begging") of Medieval France and chasing chickens as an ingredient for the communal gumbo. The event is celebrated in Cajun communities in Louisiana on final day before Lent. #MardiGras #Cajun #Louisiana


7

History is alive as the flambeaux carriers hoist firelight high at the start of the parades in New Orleans (pictured here is Orpheus). The flambeaux carriers were originally slaves and free men of color parading — in days before electricity, the gas lamps they carried lit the parade routes. #VisitNewOrleans #MardiGras #onetimeinnola


0

New Orleanians like to joke that it is the Mardi Gras beads that keep the below-sea-level city afloat. Pictured here, beads flying off a Trojan Horse float in the Krewe of Orpheus. #VisitNewOrleans #MardiGras #onetimeinnola


0

We’re a week away from Mardi Gras. Today I’m in San Diego, land of the endless summer and sunshine, with some 2,000 miles — mostly desert — between me and the Big Easy. Still, I can feel the fever pitch of carnival rising from afar and I smile. This week I’ll be posting some images from past Mardi Gras celebrations and writing love notes to Louisiana, that surreal, swampy home to sinners, saints and everything in between. First up: Playing lively jazz, the Paulin Brothers' Brass Band leads a Krewe di Vieux sub-krewe from their pre-party at the Lost Love Lounge to the parade staging grounds. Krewe di Vieux is one of the earliest parades of the New Orleans Carnival calendar, and is noted for wild satirical and adult themes, as well as for showcasing a large number of New Orleans' best marching bands. Shot on assignment for National Geographic Traveler a few years ago. #VisitNewOrleans #MardiGras #onetimeinnola


6