There’s always something a little strange about parades. For us, they ignite a confused sort of excitement and delight in the voyeurism of looking on at others united for a cause, never entirely certain what’s going on, never totally engaged with the pageantry and accoutrements and singularity of the gathered crowd’s purpose. This sense is captured perfectly in Holly Falconer’s stunning photographic series Parade, in which she documents a little-known celebration called the Neston Ladies Day parade. The annual march sees women and girls take to the streets of the Cheshire town on the first Thursday of June, in a procession featuring a banner bearing the phrase: “Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens.”
All in all, it seems to be an utterly joyous, colourful all-ages celebration of those lacking the y-chromosome, in which females celebrate one another and life in general in a a friendly, celebratory safe space. As Holly’s glorious images show, it’s a mix of tradition and modernity; with some costumes recalling the Victorian era, some lovingly created by local fashion students and some creating a mermaid-leaning, silvery vision of the future, as imagined in 1970s sci-fi films. It’s all very peculiar, but you can’t help but fall in love with the pictures; beautifully distilling the sense of delighted otherness as you see a parade pass by.
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