Kukeri A photography project by Aron Klein - Published May 18, 2017

– 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

Call for entries

black&white analog medium format portrait of a woman swimming in lake by Daniel Jackont
© Daniel Jackont
2023 Black & White AWARD

Win Cash Awards & International Exposure

In January, we invite all photographers working in black and white to share their most moving and inspiring images that display the diverse beauty of monochrome.

  • Win $2000 in Cash
  • International Exhibitions
  • Published in 2023 photobook
  • Free Portfolio Account
Submit Photos
Deadline: 31 January 2023

Recent Articles

More Articles