“Plugged in, neurotically Wi-Fied and 3Ged as we are, we yearn to re-establish contact with the actual, the primal, the old … We languish for the non-mechanical and the pre- or post-industrial. We are pilgrims seeking the past, the genuine, the individual” – Robert McLiam Wilson in the introduction to Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann: the Image of the Savage.
“These traditions come from Neolithic times — from shamanism — and they have never stopped,” said Mr. Fréger, 38. “For a few nights you can behave like a goat, drink a lot and forget about being civilized. You can be a wild animal for three days and then you go back to controlling your wildness.”
Looking at these pictures and thinking of the thinking behind them, I’m minded of Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. If Africa was the Dark Continent, what do these pictures say of Europe, the continent of enlightenment? As Conrad wrote: “We live in the flicker may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.”
“They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces, so full of stupid importance” ― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Further reading: African Masquerades: Incredible Photos Of Tribal Masks 1942-1972