Trance Dance

Photographic Art: Mask

As a photographer, Chris Rainier decided that he wanted to follow the trail of traditional masks around the world. And he did.

His journey brought him to many exotic places and cultures. He encounterd Buthanese monks, Mongolian shamans, and many other traditional mask wearing traditions across six continents. Many of these masks are used in dances, initiations, healing rituals, weddings, … and itäs purpose is, in general, to connect with the spirit world. Next to exotic cultures, Chris also found examples of ritual masks closer to home, in the Alpes of Austria for example. Every year, around the festival of Saint Nicholas, his counetrpart, the awesome Krampus, is brought to life; half-man-half-demon.

Now we can enjoy the more than 130 portraits he made on his journeys. His book Mask brings them all together.

“I’m trying to relay to the viewer a sense of spirit and sacredness, of what the masks and their roles are all about… There have been moments when I’ve put down my camera and danced around the fire.”