One of the wonderful things about returning to France is getting invited to dinners with friends where I meet new people! Such was the case with photographer Estelle Hanania. I had admired a photography book on my friend's bookshelf where I was staying when my friends announced We're having dinner with the photographer of that book. Come! You can imagine my delight! Estelle and her husband François very generously opened up their home and cooked us a wonderful vegetarian meal, served with lovely table wine, amazing cheeses, a cake for dessert and more importantly winsome conversation! A genuine shared moment between old friends and newer strangers-to-become-friends. I immediately liked Estelle. She was so casual and cool and very warm.
I was very excited to get to look through her book with her. I insisted on purchasing a copy right then and there and she signed it :
Some winter wild beasts to keep you
company with the flowers! xx Estelle
I'm sure that you are wanting me to get to the point already (why must I be so incredibly verbose?)! My point is this: Glacial Jubilé is a fantastic book. A work of art. Estelle's images are both haunting and beautiful, whimsical and frightening. Every year throughout Europe during the winter solstice these monster creatures come out of hiding to scare people away from village to village. The men create animal/nature hybrid (heavy) costumes that can be quite formidable and ugly or handsome and sophisticated. Partly to scare away evil spirits, partly to communicate with these spirits to make assure that Spring will be abundant. Very deep rooted traditions that are connected to nature. Spectacular to say the least, esoteric and enticing on the other side of that spectrum. I highly recommend it. I felt a strong connection to her images and to these people, and, a bit of fear too. I would love to attend one of these festivals. Who's coming with me?!
Merci encore Estelle + François x