If you haven’t seen the stunning photographic series Wilder Mann (German for “Wild Man”) by Charles Fréger, you should check it out. It documents traditional (and a few not-so-traditional) costumes from across Europe that transform their wearers into folkloric, half-human beasts, the sorts of beings you’d expect to encounter deep in the mountains or moors when the sunlight, snow, and fog are just right. These photos are deeply moving, and sometimes comical, reflections on questions of identity and the relationship between humanity and the more-than-human world. Are the costumes forced, fake, merely theatrical and anachronistic for the sake of being anachronistic? Or do they capture something essential to humanity that we’ve lost during the past several centuries’ quest to define ourselves in opposition to “nature?”
Wilder Mann is also available as a book for those wishing to see the full series and larger pictures.
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