An Interview With Sara Hannant

Folk Horror Revival is pleased to have put a few questions to accomplished photographer Sara Hannant …

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Folk Horror Revival: Hi Sara, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Firstly, could you tell our readers a little about yourself, your inspirations and how you came to become a photographer?

Sara Hannant: Photographs can transport you to other times and places.  That capacity for reverie and storytelling has always fascinated me.  When I first started making pictures, I wanted to tell stories about people or experiences that I felt had previously been misrepresented.  I initiated collaborative portraiture projects so that the people I photographed actively contributed to making the image.  While I was an art student at Dartington College of Arts, I worked with Gypsies and Travellers to portray their daily life, which was very different from how they were shown in the local press.  The exhibition Pictures of Ourselves was shown at Plymouth Arts Centre alongside Gypsies by the Magnum photographer Joseph Koudelka.  Seeing the emotional power of Koudelka’s work prompted me to study documentary photography at Newport College of Art.  After completing the course, I worked as a professional photographer for national papers and magazines, and charities in the UK and abroad, mainly on commissions about social issues.  Through experimental approaches, I continue to investigate how the photographic image can alter the perception and reception of subjects that are misunderstood or overlooked.

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Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers, Staffordshire

FHR: Your book Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the Ritual Year is a thorough and intriguing photo essay of traditional / contemporary English festivals and ceremonies. How did this book arise and were there any rites and rituals that particularly struck a personal chord with you?

SH: Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the Ritual Year started with a chance encounter in 2006 with Deptford Jack in the Green.  This discovery instigated my country-wide search for similar seasonal rites occurring through the wheel of the year.  I became interested in rituals which claim an ancient origin as well as those which are re-imagined or re-invented.  I am particularly fond of the fire festivals which light up the dark midwinter nights such as those at Ottery St Mary, Allendale and Lewes.  I also love the way the summer is welcomed in with performances of the Hal-an-tow in Helston Cornwall.  I aimed to capture the excitement and mystery of seasonal rites while celebrating the enduring social relevance of these popular customs for rural and urban communities.  I am delighted that Merrell published the book and the Horniman Museum showed the exhibition for nearly a year and subsequently toured the show.  It is the first British ethnographic exhibition that the museum has shown and the first to normalise representations of Paganism as part of English society.

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Burning effigies of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Cliffe Bonfire Society, Lewes, Sussex

FHR: Are there any other festivals or rituals from anywhere around the world you would especially like to capture and perhaps produce a book upon?

SH: Before Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the Ritual Year, I had documented community festivals in Mexico, India and Prague and felt it was time to explore the rich folklore closer to home.  There are many more contemporary British folkloric practices I would like to photograph.  I had thought of extending Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the Ritual Year to produce subsequent books that explore seasonal rites in the rest of the UK and I have made a start on this.

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Baphomet, Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

FHR: Another of your books Of Shadows captures One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic contains some very beguiling objects and artefacts; which are your personal favourite pieces from the collection and were there any objects that gave you the creeps or otherwise gave you a particular feeling whilst in their presence?

SH: Yes, the museum is full of enchanted objects some of which appear to have an intense presence, especially at night.  However, all of the artefacts in the museum have a resonance whether it’s because of their original magical use, the intentions bound into their making or the undeniable materiality of magical belief.  There were times when this potency felt palpable, particularly with objects once used in rituals or to represent ritual practice such as Baphomet/Old Horny.  The objects made to harness natural or spirit forces were captivating and often embodied ancient knowledge.  One of my favourite pieces is an example of the knot magic used by local witches when ‘Selling the wind’ to sailors.  The implements of torture used during the Witch Trials gave me the creeps!

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Skull used for Ritual Magic, Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

FHR: The format and style taken in Of Shadows is very effective. It gives the items a presence as if their portraits and biographies are granted rather than simply catalogued. Are there any other museum or gallery collections you would like to similarly present?

SH: Thank you, I felt privileged to engage with the magical objects and their hidden histories.  Several collections fascinate me including those at the Horniman, Petrie and Cuming Museums.  Once objects are removed from their original context, it is a challenge to rekindle some of their original properties.  I enjoy responding to those traces of energy which remain in the material.

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Rapunzel

FHR:  On your website you have some other beautiful and bewitching albums. Numinous is very well named as the images have a certain unearthly, spiritual allure whilst Ladybird, ladybird and Cinderella: Your House is on Fire combine nostalgia with the somewhat sinister and visually seductive encroachment of flames. Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind these images?

SH: Both of these projects reveal the process by which one thing, through intention, becomes another.  Numinous is inspired by healing rituals at sacred wells in Cornwall.  The images are deliberately ambiguous and explore magical belief and transformation.  In folklore, a strip of cloth or ‘cloutie’ is torn from a person’s garment, dipped into the well then hung on a nearby tree.  As it falls to the earth and rots, it is believed the illness will disappear. The cloths are said to connect to the divine power or spirits thought to inhabit the sacred place. Unfortunately, some people leave fabrics that will not biodegrade, and the Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network consequently removes the offerings.  I have re-animated these discarded cloths using natural forces in keeping with the folk magic, symbolised by the classical elements.

Cinderella: Your House is on Fire and Ladybird, ladybird question the agency of the persecuted heroine in fairy tales.  On rediscovering my childhood copy of Cinderella, I felt compelled to revise the stereotyped images of the female protagonist to tell a different story.  Fire—a symbol of hearth and home, destruction, trial, purging, and purification seemed like the ideal agent for change.  As the pages burn, images and text are revealed or juxtaposed, re-visioning old stereotypes to enable new ideas and narratives.

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Remembering

FHR: Finally, could you tell us any other photographers and artists whose work inspires or speaks to you? Also, what are you currently working on and what projects do you have planned or are considering for the future?

SH: I admire many photographers and artists from a variety of genres.  Research into other disciplines such as history, folklore and magic also inform and inspire my practice.  I am currently working on a book Touching Witchcraft and Sorcery with the folklorist Jeremy Harte.  We have gone into the archives, into the forgotten places, to catch stories of witchcraft in tale and image.  My work is included in two upcoming exhibitions at Gallery Valid Foto in Madrid from May 8-25th Women Photographer’s Now: 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the 12th Pollux Award.  In July, I will be showing a Moon inspired exhibition at Charlton House in London as part of the Moon Festival which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.

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The Fool, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Staffordshire

All Photography © Sara Hannant
https://www.sarahannant.com/

https://www.sarahannant.com/book/

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Even More Photographs from the Whitby Krampus Run 2018.

We took so many photographs at the Whitby Krampus Run on Saturday that we have decided to post some of our favourites to the blog for you to enjoy. The first couple of posts feature Andy Paciorek’s shots from the day and this post features some of my own shots. Many thanks to Elaine and Louse of Decadent Drawing for putting the whole thing together. We had a blast and we hope to see many of you there next year.

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All photographs in this blogpost copyright 2018 by Darren Charles

Wanderings With The Fae No.2. The Lost Cottage.

Wanderings with the fae. A photographic journal of places of atmosphere, folklore, history and strangeness, found on my travels around Ireland.

Sometimes you find things totally by accident. Sometimes these places have a greater resonance than those you visit deliberately.

Sometimes you wander deeper into the woods than you meant to, but something calls you on.

When the path into the woods becomes narrower, thinner, wilder, and just at the point when you wonder should you turn back, something catches your eye through the trees.

Miles from any road, from any other inhabitation, the lost cottage sits in a clearing.

As a chill atmosphere filled the air, I could only imagine who lived there last, who left it to succumb to the whims of the forest. I walked away with more haste than I arrived.

Sometimes you can never find these places again, sometimes there is a reason for that…………

(Photography by Jackie Taylor. An unknown location somewhere on the Mayo/Sligo border. Winter 2016)

Wanderings With The Fae No.1. Achill, pirate queens and folk art graves.

Wanderings with the fae. A photographic journal of places of atmosphere, folklore, history and strangeness, found on my travels around Ireland.

Achill Island is a place of remoteness, wildness.

Carrickkildavnet Castle has stood guard over Achill Sound for near 600 years. Once the home of the infamous pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.

Kildownet Graveyard contains the ruins of a chapel thought to have been built by the pirate queen herself. Sitting right on the coast, it seems that one good storm could take some of those interred to a far deeper, wetter grave.

What makes Kildownet so special is It’s number of folk art gravestones. These simple markers, cast from concrete and decorated with stones, broken glass and shards of pottery are far more poignant than any grand tomb.

And I still haven’t found anyone who could explain to me what being a "Mystical Midwife" entails!

(Photography by Jackie Taylor. Achill Island, County Mayo, August 2017)

Hark @ Whitby 2: Alternative Yule: Erin Sorrey & Andy Paciorek

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Over the festive period, to be found at Stuart Duckett Design Store, Bar, Gallery and Record Lounge  in Whitby, is a rather fine assemblage of dark seasonal art on exhibit. Over the next few days (Yuletide festivities withstanding) we will showcase some of the marvelous artists on show. But go see the work for yourself, they also do some damn fine coffee.
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Erin Sorrey is a Canadian poet and artist. She attended The Ottawa School of Art, and works in a variety of medium.

She is inspired by the ocean, the ethereal shadows, the romance in the depraved, the beauty in the abyss, and her own lunacy.

 

 

More of her work can be seen at ~

Glass Coffin +
Velvet Razors
~~~~~~~

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Andy Paciorek is a graphic artist, drawn mainly to the worlds of myth, folklore, symbolism, decadence, curiosa, anomaly, dark romanticism and otherworldly experience. He is fascinated both by the beautiful and the grotesque and the twilight threshold consciousness where these boundaries blur. The mist-gates, edges and liminal zones where nature borders supernature and daydreams and nightmares cross paths are of great inspiration.

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Hark is on show at the Stuart Duckett Gallery until 2nd January 2018

Hark @ Whitby 1: Alternative Yule: Decadent Drawing & Eolith Designs

She is Time

She is Time …

A giantess

A dwarf

A bear

A bird

Mother sister daughter all

Originator and child born

Wondrous

Awful

Tender

Harsh

Caressing – “You still have Time my love, my beloved one.”

“No Time left – Hurry you wicked child!”

I have avoided her presence.

I have acknowledged it too.

Youth or innocence or stupidity

Wisdom or just older and old age coming and then …

“I wasn’t really so ugly after all.”

Day after day and hour after hour of self criticism.

Now looking back

I beg you, “Let me make myself again!”

Help me form from clay instead of skin containing organs blood and bone.

Help me become an uncontaminated version of me

Instead of influence bombarding and impinging from all directions.

But Time will do what she wants and leaves me to learn.

Gives me precious gifts as well as throwaway baubles that will remain until infinity – Signs of me that were.

The passing of –

Who I am

Who we all are

What we learn

How to be.

Make the most of it.

Don’t waste time or do waste some time

Sometimes –

From time to time stop and

Feel and appreciate every moment of … but …

Best laid plans.

The past rises up in black and white or technicolour shards.

Puzzle together

Manufacture memory

Did it happen?

All a part of you.

Primordial – before time, before building began

Past, present, future – all times.

Hauntings, soaked and seeped into the walls the floors, the earth.

The words, the sighs, the emotions, the pleasures, the pains.

Mine mingle into the sediment of all others who came before me and those that will come.

Haunting me from the future as well as the past.

Thoughts, realities, fantasies, plans and ambitions unrealized, regretted, yearned for –

Unique and mine a part of everything that was and is.

Foolish, brave, meek, timid, strong.

All of these cycling

Who and what potential there was and is to be …

In the past in the present, in the future, in the “non” time

Just the “am” just “is” just “be” time

Would you live differently?

Reincarnation, what animal will you be?

Heaven, hell, purgatory?

Please let me –

Reclaim my self from time reclaim my fresh plump and tighter skin,

Like a lizard let me shed my tarnished and webbed self.

You are cruel but I understand.

My face, my body, my thought, is witness to evermore.

My life with others, everything I saw, everything I wanted, tasted, everything experienced – everything even wickedness.

Where in the ridges of lives does she settle?

Which cracks does she fall into?

Pressed under foot

Like leaves that begin to change colour, dry and wither while others remain under ice and snow, amber till spring when they will die, become part of what came before.

In the dew of the grass

The web of the spider

The speck of dust motes that float.

Day after day

Cycles of nature bring joy and sadness too, the end or fading of memories

Time so tied into every cell and twinge and hurt and joy.

Make way for her!

You can scurry out of the way and hide, for now, don’t think of her passing.

Hide your eyes!

Recoil from her!

But better to move toward her and welcome the shadow she throws down over you.

She is an unavoidable presence enveloping you with her wings.

A large bird is time with a wing span covering all and felt everywhere

Manufactured in factories

Forged in metal

Grown from the soil

Born from a tender nest and fed and nurtured

Created from mystery – the beginning of everything.

She takes from me without my consent

Wild and powerful and strong Time.

I feel her shadow.

She is near.

She will take me

When she is ready.

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​Words and Picture (C) Carmit Kordov

Carmit is an administrator of the Folk Horror Revival Facebook group. Her poetry has appeared in Corpse Roads , a Wyrd Harvest Press book.

Please visit Carmit Kordov Words and Pictures for more poetry, photography, writing and cultural content that veers towards Magic Realism.

Dark: A Poem by Carmit Kordov

Dark

Come see Dark, the Master Manipulator!

He promises your rebirth.

Garish painted mouth stretching from ear to ear,

grinning beckoning.

Not for children this attraction.

Leave them with the carousel or the stuffed toys at the shooting range.

Let them keep their innocence – for now.

Eat a piece of cotton candy, you will need the sweetness on your tongue

to disguise the bitterness that will surely develop.

He is no circus clown

with red nose, balloons and pratfalls.

A trickster

A buffoon

Dark sees right through you.

You think you are strong enough?

Then come in and experience

your weakness

your fear

what delights or repels you.

He picks on you, plays silly.

Takes all he wants and spits out what he doesn’t.

Makes you tell your secrets

plays the game

The joker sees.

He is cunning

He is foolish.

He is a god.

He has been created from the earth itself.

Even his scent is musty, vegetative and wet.

No rules for him, no convention he is a disobeyer.

He is spirit –

Accesses your wounds, licks them, pokes at them with his rough tongue.

Accesses your desires and brings them to the surface of your skin like raised hackles.

Prodding and pushing and pricking of your conscience.

He takes all of you, mixes you up, shakes up your pretentions.

You can raise you hands to protect your face but he will bore a hole in your brain.

Takes you to places you never thought you wanted to go but now are willingly led.

Takes all your inhibitions, your begging and pleading, and laughs in your face.

Impells you to raise up your hands in confession, “It was me!”

He holds you under the water – will you drown innocent or float a witch?

As your confessor, he will discover what promises you kept and those you didn’t.

He takes you to the limit and beyond even the darkest corners.

So prepare and annoint yourself.

Make your decision.

You know what it will be.

Words and Picture (c) Carmit Kordov

This poem is one of a collection that will appear in a forthcoming book of Carnival themed poems and accompanying photographs by Carmit Kordov.

Please visit Carmit Kordov Words and Pictures for more poetry, photography, writing and other cultural content that veers towards Magic Realism.

Carmit Kordov is an administrator of the Folk Horror Revival Facebook group. Her poetry has appeared in Corpse Roads, a Wyrd Harvest Press book.

Story: A Poem by Carmit Kordov

Story

Yearning for the old language of my blood, bone, skin.

Searching for my stone, my soil

stained with grief

splintered with joy.

Echoes, wistful, reverberate a desire in me.

Layers of my past, senses, corrupt my present

force me toward a hard and piercing future.

But mollify too with soft promises.

I mourn the tanned, weathered experiences, pieces of myself.

I strain to hold them tight around me like protection against wind.

I seek out rivers, streams and ponds

forge through elemental forests

rejoice in the leaves’ breath harsh and tender

brush against walls, stone, foundations dense with histories

push along through familiar unfamiliar streets.

Forced to make choices, take paths one way only.

The present infiltrates, shoves and urges me forward

cuts into viscous layers of the past.

Here I am: child, girl, woman.

I am the storyteller.

I demand the past bind itself to me and keep with me in the present.

I am the story

I will not disappear.

Words and Picture (C) Carmit Kordov

Please visit Carmit Kordov Words and Pictures (https://www.facebook.com/carmitkordovwordsandpictures/ ) for more poetry, photography, writing and cultural content that veers towards Magic Realism.

This poem appeared in Corpse Roads (https://folkhorrorrevival.com/folk-horror-revival-corpse-roads/), a Wyrd Harvest Press book (https://folkhorrorrevival.com/wyrd-harvest-press/).

Wyrd Harvest Press: Charity Donation Poll

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On the Autumn Equinox (September 22) we will again donate 100% of  sales profits from our books to the Wildlife Trusts. Please choose the project below you would like to vote for (write name in comments box below or vote via the pinned post on our Facebook Group.)

We will split donation between the two projects with most votes.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek
To see more details of the Wildlife Trusts’ projects or to make a direct donation please visit –
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/appeals

Choose from ~

Badger Vaccination Project

Save Rare Butterflies

Keep Beavers in the Wild

Protect Nesting Ospreys

HS2 Wildlife in Crisis

Save Blackhouse Woods

Crayfish in Crisis

Help Heathland Birds

Great Fen Project

The Living Landscape


 

100% of profits from FHR / Wyrd Harvest Press books sold are charitably donated at intervals to different environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by the Wildlife Trusts.

Titles currently available (more in planning production )-

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Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies – Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore. Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Philip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more. 100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.
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Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Roads –  An epic collection of spellbinding poetry, focusing on folk horror, life, death and the eeriness of the landscape by many creative talents both living and departed. Accompanied throughout with atmospheric imagery by an impressive collection of contemporary photographers. 100% of sales profits from this book are charitably donated to The Wildlife Trusts

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The Carnival of Dark Dreams by Dr Bob Curran & Andy Paciorek – Welcome to The Carnival of Dark Dreams. A visual daytrip into the depths of the jungle, the sands of the desert, to many haunted habitats and worse still into the darkness of the human imagination. But fear not, for captured, caged and presented for your curiosity by Dr. Bob Curran and Mr. Andy Paciorek are some of the most deadly, grotesque, fearsome entities of world folklore. Roll up Roll up for the fright of your lives. Dare you visit The Carnival of Dark Dreams???


Note: Enter code THEBIG30 at checkout and receive 30% off the cover price. Coupon expires Sep 19th. Coupon codes are CASE-SENSITIVE. Click “Apply” after entering the coupon code. (Before committing to buy, ensure your country is selected at the top of the Lulu.com site, to ensure domestic shipping.)

To Buy our books and help environmental projects go to –

Glass Coffin: The Art & Poetry of Erin Sorrey

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ANCESTORS

Amerind around the eyes

Cheekbones which speak of the past,

When I was wild.

My soul still knows

In my heart beats an animal;

A feral beast

And an eagle flying free.

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Erin Sorrey is a Canadian poet and artist. She attended The Ottawa School of Art, and works in a variety of medium.

She is inspired by the ocean, the ethereal shadows, the romance in the depraved, the beauty in the abyss, and her own lunacy.

More of her work can be seen at

Glass Coffin +
Velvet Razors

and in the book  Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Roads

All Images and Poetry © Erin Sorrey and not to be used without explicit permission

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