Mathieu is a French photographer based in Paris. His interest for travel and cultures has led him to photograph various people and communities around the world. Since 2017 he has been working on a long term project on spirituality and religions. He intends to photograph its diversity, richness and universality.
In Bulgaria and around the Balkans, every winter the pagan tradition of the Kukeri bring together costumed men who make strange dances and rituals. They march around the villages, dance with their heavy bells and their scary costumes to scare away the bad spirits, bring good luck on harvests to come and joy and health for the villagers. Far away from imageries of alcohol and debauchery that sometimes define modern carnivals, this tradition brings us back to the real spirit and essence of winter Carnivals : a final celebration before the end of Winter’s tough times, and the hope for Spring and harvests. Photographed in January 2018 in Pernik, Bulgaria, at the Surva masquerade festival.