In a world that is increasingly urban-focused, photographer Ricardo Cases documents the niche experience of city-dwellers traveling to the countryside for a holiday full of “real” rural living. In his series La Caza Del Lobo Congelado (“Frozen Wolf Hunt”), Cases spent time photographing at a Spanish gaming reserve, a popular tourist destination for businessmen and others to get a taste of the outdoors and the thrill of the hunt. He cites a renewed fascination with the countryside as a romantic ideal rather than a reality, and finds that local attractions now cater to fanciful ideas of the provincially rustic. Small town hotels make themselves even more primitive, cheeses are truly handmade and establishments and landmarks are re-christened with more folksy names in order to please the touristing urbanite.
Located in the south of Spain, the La Cardenchosa reserve boasts sprawling land full of game to kill and eat, providing lodging, guns, dogs and an experience intended to satisfy. This particular haven of the unrefined ideal offers hunting of both deer and boar, and Cases follows the men as they somewhat comically traverse across the “wilderness” to prove their manhood. It is here that the facade breaks down as we realize the outdoor attire, excessive all-terrain vehicles and packs of charging canines are entirely unnecessary as the animals on the reserve are bred and fed year-round. The edges of the hinterland are ringed with fence and the prey are literal “fish in a barrel” waiting to be slaughtered. After spending time at the reserve, Cases notes that the excursion does not seem to make good on its promise. The bloody charade is over, but still the hunter is left disappointed, a nagging sensation that nothing was conquered at all.
La Caza Del Lobo Congelado is available as a photo book through Dalphine press.
All images © Ricardo Cases