Photographer Anne-Sophie Stolz shot a series of amazing photos of costumes from the annual Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht festival in Swabian Bavaria. Basically, it’s their version of Mardi Gras, and many of the carnival costumes are extremely elaborate.
Today, it’s officially a pre-Lenten feast, but in Bavaria (and across much of Austria and Switzerland) the traditions contain artifacts of older times: villagers dress in masks and costumes and parade through the streets in a symbolic expulsion of winter’s gloom. The night culminates in the burning of an “old man winter” effigy (you know, typical Catholic stuff). Stolz, who calls herself “a tourist in her own town,” staged portraits of Fastnacht attendees dressed in their finery: suits covered in pine cones, demons with horns, and men covered in grass and moss. The series contrasts the banality of life in a small town with what Stolz calls “the phenomenon of preservation, of holding old values are important points of life there.”