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Photographer Documents Whimsical English Folklore in ‘Jack in the Green’

Morgan Silk

The name ‘Jack-in-the-Green’ came from the garlands of flowers and leaves people would make for May Day celebrations. In a bid to outdo each other and have the biggest and best, it got to the point where people would end up wearing garlands so large that they covered their entire body, and so ‘Jack-in-the-Green’ was born.

The Jack, a 15ft green conical tower covered in leaves with a green man head on top, is paraded through the streets of Hastings Old Town for three hours, accompanied by a whole host of interesting characters including all manner of Bogies, Belly Dancers, Fairies, Sweeps, and Morris Dancers. Once the procession ends at the top of the hill, the Jack is ‘slain’ and the Summer is welcomed in. — Morgan Silk

English photographer Morgan Silk captures the quirky world of myth and earth in his series Jack in the Green. A revived tradition from times past, the annual celebration is one of the largest collection of Morris folk dancers in the United Kingdom and in May 2013 had over 8000 participants. Shot on simple studio backgrounds, the peculiar eccentricities of each character is drawn out, bursting with texture and whimsey. Local townspeople are transformed into ephemeral creatures of old, a remembrance of the wild roots and woods of English history from long ago.

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

Morgan Silk

This post was contributed by photographer and Feature Shoot Editorial Assistant Jenna Garrett.

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