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#costumes#masks#Roberto de la Torre#seasons#Spain

In ‘Microcosmos,’ Roberto de la Torre Photographs the Elaborate Masked Characters of Northern Spain’s Entroidos

July 18, 2023

Grace Ebert

A costumed figure wearing vibrant striped pants and a tall headdress with a mask stands in a field

“Vellarron de Catrelo de Cima,” Galicia. All images © Roberto de la Torre, shared with permission

In Microcosmos, photographer Roberto de la Torre (previously) centers his lens on the celebratory costumes of the entroido. Held widely in his home region of Galicia around Lent and the shift from winter to spring, entroidos are annual gastronomic carnivals in which food and dance are plentiful. Elaborate costumes and masks are essential for participation, which de la Torre documents in the ongoing series.

Taken throughout northern Spain and Portugal, the photos capture the expressive, varied designs made with feather-like husks, vibrant tufts of synthetic materials, and animal horns. Each costume is unique and tied to a specific role in the celebration. “Some of them are difficult to portray because of their elusive character. Sometimes the people who wear them do not want them to become tourist symbols and lose their ritual character, so they do not like to be photographed,” he tells Colossal.

The demonic “Chocalheiro de Bemposta,” for example, has bulbous horns and a serpent-like creature on the shoulder and is from a small Portuguese village in Mogadouro called Bemposta. It emerges twice annually, making “an appearance the first day of the year and the day after Christmas in a very special ritual for its movement through the village, visiting people and bowing in the houses where some of its inhabitants have recently died,” he explains.

De la Torre is currently working on a parallel series to Microcosmos that considers ritual and divinity. View more of the costumes on the photographer’s Instagram, and find prints in his shop.

A figure wears a corn husk costume in a field

“Follateiro de Lobios,” Galicia

A figure wears a black and red costume with bulbous horns

“Chocalheiro de Bemposta,” Portugal

A figures wears a white tunic and white pants with a tall mask with purple face and duck near the top of the mask

“Felos de Esgos,” Galicia

Vibrant synthetic material forms a feet-tall headdress worn by an exaggerated masked figure in vibrant costume

“Boteiro de Viana do Bolo,” Galicia

A figure wears a dried grass costume with animal horns

“Feo de Bande,” Galicia

A figure wearing a white and red costume holding gold balloons

“Pantalla de Xinzo de Limia,” Galicia

#costumes#masks#Roberto de la Torre#seasons#Spain

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