I am still trying to understand towards which artistic direction my photography is heading to – I love to take portraits but I completely lack of fantasy as per “creating a project”.  During this search for inspiration, last week end I have found Wilder Mann and I said to myself that a project of mine has to be “something like this”.

Wilder Mann is the new series by Charles Fréger, a great series I might add,  taken in 2010 and 2011 across eighteen European countries, from Finland to Greece.

“I have worked on the Wilder Mann series in 2010 and 2011, in 18 countries, starting with:

Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, France, FInland and Romania.

The pictures are singles or group portraits of members of pagan communities linked with the traditions of masquerade.

The figures shown take part in rituals that for the most part, celebrate the beginning or the end of the winter, the cycle of seasons, fertility life and death. They are linked with All Saint’s day, St Nicolas, Christmas, the New Year, the Epiphany,  and Easter.

I have chosen to focus my survey on the transformation of man into beast, with interest in the mythology of the Wild Man. Here the costumes are those of devils, goats, wild boars, bears, death.

Many of the group shown have in common the use of masks, horns, bells, animal “material” such as fur and bones and/or vegetable “materials” such as straw, lichen, conifers.” Charles Fréger

Still unpublished, a portfolio of the Wilder Mann series was appeared in the latest issue of the magazine Le Monde d’Hermès. The series will also be exhibited in 2012 by the Fondation Hermès in two spaces dedicated to photography: the TH13 Gallery in Berne and the Gallery at Hermès in New York.

Wilder Mann can currently be viewed at the Galerie Fotohof in Salzburg through January 21; at the Museo Vasco in Bilbao from March 7 to March 12, 2012; at the Musée de la Photographie in March 2013. An exhibition will also tour Eastern Europe in 2012.

Finally, Wilder Mann will be the subject of a book available in four languages and released by four European publishers. (Courtesy of diCHroma and LaLettre websites, images 2010 © Charles Fréger )

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