For two years in 2010 and 2011, Charles Fréger criss-crossed Europe from North to South, from Finland to Portugal, passing through Romania, Germany and Slovenia, in search of the figure of the savage as it survives in local popular traditions. These images, like archetypes, half-man half-beast, animal or vegetable, resurface from the depths of time on the occasion of ritualistic, pagan or religious festivals, celebrating the cycle of the seasons, the fat days, carnival or the eve of Easter. By becoming a bear, a goat, a stag or a boar, a man of straw, a devil or a monster with steel jaws, these men celebrate the cycle of life and the seasons. Their costumes, made of animal or vegetable skins, set with bones or girded with bells, topped with horns or deer antlers, are astonishing for the diversity and beauty of their forms.
The photographic series is accompanied by a text by Robert McLiam Wilson. Since its first publication in 2012, this book is currently in its fourth edition.