2009 - 2017
digital phototgraphy, photography on b&w film
In these photos I capture children performing in the loud Kukeri dance, whose faces show silent, but strong expressions. The traditional Kukeri dance is performed by mature men who don’t take off their masks. In contemporary Kukeri festivals there are young boys and girls participating. Because of their fragility, they take off their heavy masks while waiting for the time of performance. The gesture of uncovering the face is central issue in portrait photography. In this ritualistic performance it brings the unique and specific for photography revealing behind the person.
The dance of Kukeri is a pagan Bulgarian tradition of Thracian origins. It is performed by men dressed in colourful hand-made costumes, wearing scary masks and leather belts with huge copper bells. Around New Year and before Lent they walk and dance through the village. In folk beliefs their costumes and bells scare away evil spirits, provide good harvest, health and happiness.
After several years of selecting photos from my archives I decided to include some mature men to show the mood and energy of the original kukeri dance and festival.