These photographs of Europe’s Wild Men are so haunting and captivating to me.  I love that, in some pictures, the costumes are convincing and intense (sometimes terrifying), and in others, they are silly and humorous (I love seeing the feet of the men attired).  The images were featured in an article on the National Geographic website earlier this year.

From the article: A primal heart still beats in Europe. Deep beneath the gloss of cell phone sophistication lie rituals that hark back to harvests and solstices and fear of the winter dark. Monsters loom in this shadowy heart, but so does the promise of spring’s rebirth and fertile crops and women cradling newborn babes. It turns out that Europe—at least pockets of it—has not lost its connection to nature’s rhythms.

Photographer Charles Fréger set out to capture what he calls “tribal Europe” over two winters of travel through 19 countries. The forms of the costumes that he chronicled vary between regions and even between villages. 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.

Read the rest of the article and see many more pictures on the National Geographic website.  Fréger’s book of these images, Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage, was published in 2012.

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Source: National Geographic