Inspired by reports of a lone brown bear running wild in the forests of Switzerland – a bear who was eventually shot by the authorities when it got too close to human settlements – Marco Frauchiger (b. 1976) went searching deep in the woods of his native country where the bear roamed, looking for traces of its existence and signs of other bears living there.
Conducting his investigation as if it were an official enquiry, Frauchiger began his three-year project by prowling into the woods, almost forensically documenting any artefacts he found that could be linked to the bear, which ranges from anything between barbed wire and bones to clumps of hair.
Furthermore, flaunting his deft understanding of natural light by photographing under many different lighting scenarios, Frauchiger photographs the beautiful surrounding area from vast landscapes to the eerie hidden crevices of the forest where the bear was thought to live.
However, Frauchiger explains that, despite prolonged efforts, he grew disillusioned with his hunt for the bear and accepted that the only bears left in his country were in museums where some had been taxidermied. Retreating to these institutions to satisfy his fascination with bears, Frauchiger rounds his project off by photographing skeletal models and other information concerning the bear, which results in this all-encompassing documentation of Switzerland’s once-native bear.