Once a Year.
Photographs by Axel Hoedt.
Steidl, 2013. 104 pp., 83 color illustrations, 7x8¾".
Selected as a Book of the Week by Michael Schmelling
It is carnival in south-western Germany: On the streets of Endingen and Sachsenheim, Kissleg and Singen, Wilfingen and Triberg, the elaborate and lavish costumes of the Swabian-Alemannic tradition are paraded. The fashion and portrait photographer Axel Hoedt from the area of Breisgau in Germany shows the carnival revellers and their disguises beyond established clichés and radically breaks with carnival iconography. No breath taking somersaults in front of the crowds and romantic timber framework, no crazy goings-on but revellers in earnest pose, in front of a bright background, in a forest or in front of customary functional buildings. Classical studio shots, Polaroid snapshots and still life images are juxtaposed. Hoedt regularly confronts the quaint masks with the wintry-rigid scenery impressions and reminds us of what carnival used to be: a last jamboree before the dawning of hard times.
Read Sarah Bradley's review of Once a Year on photo-eye Blog.