Charles Freger

Biography

Charles Freger is a French photographer who uses portraiture as contemporary anthropology, documenting folk costumes to capture the traditions and histories of communities across the globe. He is particularly well know for his ‘Wildermann’ project which documented the folk customs across Europe in vivid and distinctive portraits. His latest project Cimarron looks at the African diaspora in the Americas. The legacy of slavery is the inevitable spectre, and the Cimarron works describe how ritual and dress constitute acts of resistance against the imposition of power from without. Despite covering over a vast geographical area and being articulated in diverse displays, there are some common motifs: the image of the Devil, often interpreted as an agent of resistance and mischief against authority; the whip as a symbol of control, as well as an echo of a fetish; and the use of the body as a canvas to be painted, both as a tribute to the earliest slaves and as a defence against the harsh American environment. Together they constitute important cultural documents of the role of theatre in both the definition and the endurance of cultural identity.

Exhibitions