"It feels like a fever dream. Like a strange nightmare. In the early-morning mist, the trees seem to take on human form, the bushes grow legs and walk forward with a determined gait, human tissue becomes bark, or the other way round. Elsewhere, horned beings, covered in animal skins, feathers, even blood, wearing grimacing masks, forming a cohort that we join with fear, fascination or even enthusiasm. Sometimes, these creatures from a distant-past hurl abuse at passers-by, pretend to kidnap young women, or fight one another. At times they allow themselves to be hunted, to be mistreated by the crowd then judged by a court, whose verdict is unsurprising: at daybreak, they disappear in the bonfire.
Yannick Cormier immerses himself in the carnival rites of Portugal and North Western Spain in a manner that is truly his own. He brings no pre-established protocol, no aesthetic pretention or need to make an inventory to the table. Other photographers have already done that. 19th century anthropologists systematically captured the faces and profiles, making an inventory of the masks, accessories and costumes, reducing ancestral rites to the status of folklore. More recently, meticulous and spectacular photographic directories, laid out with technical exactitude and method, brought these figures back to the present in an almost anachronical way."