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Charles Fréger: Wilder Mann

Work / Photography

Photography: Charles Fréger’s folkloric quest to discover the Wild Man in 18 countries

Hats and horns off to Charles Fréger who has blown everyone else’s LAME projects out the water with his showstopper of a photography series The Wilder Man. Charles travelled around a total of 18 different European countries in order to investigate the folkloric traditions and legends that surrounds each individual culture. In many festivals, events and traditions across Europe, there is usually a time when a man is dressed up as something wild and fearsome and paraded around a town to signify something or other that happened long ago. Charles decided to put these terrifying characters on a pedestal and shine a light on what they truly look like, away from the pushing crowds of the festivals and rituals. The National Geographic site describes Charles’ quest beautifully:

“In Corlata, Romania, men dress as stags reenacting a hunt with dancers. In Sardinia, Italy, goats, deer, boars, or bears may play the sacrificial role. Throughout Austria, Krampus, the beastly counterpart to St. Nicholas, frightens naughty children,” says Rachel Hartigan Shea.

“But everywhere there is the wild man. In France, he is l’Homme Sauvage; in Germany, Wilder Mann; in Poland, Macidula is the clownish version. He dresses in animal skins or lichen or straw or tree branches. Half man and half beast, the wild man stands in for the complicated relationship that human communities, especially rural ones, have with nature.”

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