Painted elephants

The elephant festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, takes place every year in April.
It has all the appearances of a beauty contest where the participants are elephants
and elegant maouts. In this photographic series, it is the elephant, in the center of the image that is the subject of the portrait, while its maout seems to be the extension of the mastodon’s body. As usual, Charles Fréger chooses to photograph outside the event, so we are outside the festival period and the elephants are painted and decorated expressly for the shooting. Like the Fantasias or Wilder Mann series, the subject is transplanted into the environment that the photographer considers “natural”.
The elephant leaves the urban environment and poses in a rocky nature, under a dazzling light. The trunk sometimes raised, the elephant is presented in a three-quarter view. The low angle of the shot raises the animal to a dominant and sculptural rank. Here, it is at the same time subject, support of painted motifs and trompe-l’oeil: rosettes and exotic flowers, lions on the hunt, comical snakes and majestic birds cross dolphins, stars or extraordinary bariolages.

These bright colors of the Jaipur festival come out during the week of the Holi festival. It is then that in all India, the euphoric population throws pigments of colors pigments… and all to celebrate the joy of living: green for harmony, orange for optimism, blue for vitality, red for joy and love.