Kukeri A photography project by Aron Klein

– Chasing evil spirits With Bulgaria’s Kukeri

“Kukeri” is an ancient pagan ritual practiced annually across the Balkan mountain regions where local men wear carved wooden masks of beasts’ faces and hang heavy bells around their waists as they perform arcane dances.

The word ‘kuker’ comes from Latin (‘cuculla,’ meaning a ‘hood’) and it denotes a folkloric monster, a man dressed in an elaborate suit of fur. These figures are intended to dispel evil spirits and protect their community from ill fortune.

The decorated costumes worn by some of the locals blur the distinction between animals and humans, which highlights the deep connection that this culture maintains with its natural habitat.

“Our society no longer contains ceremony and ritual as part of our cultural practices, so I was really drawn to document a community that continues to value folklore and tradition,” Aron explains. “Each of these images depicts the subtleties of the character’s local folk tales.”

– Discover more of Aron’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
© Michelle Marshall

2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now