The Cathar faith remains mysterious and much of what we know of it comes from the records of the Catholic Inquisition, which had good reason to put a negative spin on it. It had no churches and rejected oaths (including baptism and marriage), war and capital punishment. New Age adherents, such as this Tarot Card reader in Mazères, may have much in common with its spiritual ideals, which share some beliefs from Buddhism.
Languedoc – Photo Tip

Try a small festival for candid shots

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Languedoc – Photo Tip Try a small festival for candid shots

The history of Catharism – a contra-Catholic, dualistic belief that there are two gods, a good one and a bad one – is many centuries old and my first impression was that all that remains of it are these crumpled castles perched on rocks that you see everywhere.

Jochem Wijnands
Jochem Wijnands Founder / photographer

But underneath the surface of everyday life, the Cathar philosophy still exists today and is loosely linked with the Catalan mentality. The people of this region are proud and stubborn and they love their traditions and heritage. Many are the cultural festivals and reenactments that address the mysterious Cathar history.

I like to visit the smaller, less touristic festivals because they are less polished and there is more freedom to move around and get involved. I keep an eye out for candid and more spontaneous situations. By keeping my camera very close to my eyes, I can react instantly.

With so much happening around me, I always work with a wide angle lens with a zoom, for example a 20-35mm or a 28-70mm. Zooming in is much faster than getting closer and gives a higher chance of catching the right moment.

jdw09540

The blood and gold colors of Languedoc, seen here in the Mazères Festival, come from those of the counts of Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. Languedoc means "language of oc" and derives from the word for "yes" in the local Occitan language which is closely related to Catalan. Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon D2X

Aperture
ƒ/5
Exposure
1/100
ISO
100
Focal
24 mm

The blood and gold colors of Languedoc, seen here in the Mazères Festival, come from those of the counts of Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. Languedoc means "language of oc" and derives from the word for "yes" in the local Occitan language which is closely related to Catalan.

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