My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

November-Through-OktoberFest

30 Comments

Engel Marie Meier, Schaumburg, 2011. ©Eric Schuett

In rural parts of Germany and Alsace, there are still small pockets of peasant women who keep to the traditional dress with which they were raised. German photographer Eric Schuett hunts down these woman and takes their portraits. I find them utterly fascinating.

Okay, no, they don’t look too happy. But while it doesn’t seem to give them much joy, you have to respect them for their commitment. It’s a bit sad to imagine this generation dying out with no replacement in sight. (Or maybe they’re bummed because when you search Amazon for “traditional German dress,” this is what comes up.) I’m being a jerk. I know. But if they didn’t so strongly resemble well-known actors in drag, I would have a much easier time being an adult about this. (Here’s a fun game: Can you spot Bob Hoskins, Sir Michael Gambon, and Tom Wilkinson?)

Schuett has actually gone through quite a bit of research to find them, and by all accounts, he’s quite kind to them. It truly does seem to be a labor of love, no matter what their faces say.

“Since he began the project, many of the women Schuett encountered have passed away. It’s not nostalgia for days past but a reverence for the women themselves that motivates the photographer to continue to tell their stories. Life for women could be difficult in more traditional times, and he strives not to romanticize but simply to remember and to record their histories. For the most part, he concludes, they were no different than anyone else, save for an aura of contentment that surrounded their homes. Their lives, he suggests, seemed well-lived.” –FeatureShoot.com

At any rate, I find these dour portraits very satisfying. What do you think?

Emma Krahl, Lusatia, 2010

Emma Krahl, Lusatia, 2010. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Schaefer, Schaumburg, 2010. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Schaefer, Schaumburg, 2010. ©Eric Schuett

Agnes Schuster, Katolische Lausitz ©Eric Schuett

Agnes Schuster, Katolische Lausitz ©Eric Schuett

Gertrude Lesch, Hesse, 2014. ©Eric Schuett

Gertrude Lesch, Hesse, 2014. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Pawelczyk, Schaumburg, 2010. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Pawelczyk, Schaumburg, 2010. ©Eric Schuett

Maria Drummer, Franken, 2012. ©Eric Schuett

Maria Drummer, Franken, 2012. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Katharina Haber, Hesse, 2014. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Katharina Haber, Hesse, 2014. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Katharina Suessmann in mourning garb, Hesse, 2011. ©Eric Schuett

Anna Katharina Suessmann in mourning garb, Hesse, 2011. ©Eric Schuett

Marie Meier - Schamburger Land. ©Eric Schuett

Marie Meier – Schamburger Land. ©Eric Schuett

 

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

30 thoughts on “November-Through-OktoberFest

  1. I think the portraits are lovely and I respect people feeling compelled to maintain the traditional dress aspect of their culture, whether as daily wear or for festivals. I studied Ethnology as a side subject when I was an undergraduate so perhaps that is why I like to see people still connecting to and engaging with their culture(s) and traditions. It is also great to see portraits of people whose faces at least imply a story. The character in their faces definitely suggests interesting back stories we can only imagine.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This reminds me of when Mark and I lived in Crete, Greece. If you were a widow or widower, it was traditionally appropriate to wear black wool in public. The men would wear a complete suit of it with a black Greek fisherman’s hat, and the ladies would wear a long dress with long sleeves and a high neck, and a black scarf of some sort on their heads. Keep in mind that Crete is an island in the Med and it is very hot in the summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, they did look striking. They would always gather in groups and sit in the shade of the olive trees. The Justice of the Peace would only marry couples once a month, on a particular Saturday. When Mark and I got married, we were surrounded by about 20 friends at the JoP office. After the ceremony, which was in 2 languages, and involved Greek traditions of drinking Ouzo, and the bridal couple passing out Jordan almonds to each person after they had their shot of Ouzo. We then stepped outside of the JoP office and were surprised to see all of the widows and widowers had been waiting for our ceremony to end so that they could congratulate us with a standing ovation and round of cheers. We walked across the street to greet them and thank them, and that turned in to another round of Ouzo for everyone.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Every picture tells a story. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I made a mistake, it was Raki that we drank, not Ouzo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How wonderful these photos are, to capture these women in their traditional dress.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful faces and the detail of the clothing would have been lots of work to do by hand as their ancestors sewed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the window into another culture. Brings to mind that we are all gloriously different, and our uniqueness should be celebrated. Did I just wax philosophic? I’ve never had cause to use that phrase! Thanks, Donna!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Fascinating – loved this

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved these and I think cranky dolls is a perfect description. But I think Agnes Schuster, the 4th one, looks rather happy in a calm way. And Anna Pawelczyk , the 6ht one, has a bit of an imp in her if you look at the tiny bit of a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. they are beautiful! reminds me of my family from russia, who were always horrified at the american impulse to smile broadly in every photo. they found it sort of manic and lacking substance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that! Makes a lot of sense. I know the Victorians took photos very seriously, too. My mother had some turn-of-the-century family photos that used to crack us up because everyone looked so miserable.

      Like

  12. There’s a kind of honesty in old age that I love.

    Liked by 1 person

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