Man among Men

Juliane Herrmann

2012 - 2017


Man among Men opens the door onto an ancient world that is otherwise hidden from the public: the Freemasons. A closed fraternal organisation that traces its origins back to the late medieval Stonemasons. Traditionally all male, Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world and boasts an estimated membership of six million people. Over the course of the 21st century, it has evolved from a ‘secret society’ to a global ‘society with secrets’. The basic ideals of Freemasonry are liberty, equality, fraternity, tolerance and humanity. It is most important for a Freemason to work on himself to become a better man. In 2017 Freemasonry celebrates its 300-year jubilee.

Juliane Herrmann spent five years documenting Freemasonry around the world, going beyond the secrecy and occultism that usually frames public perception of the group. In her work she instead turns the lens on what continues to draw people to the Freemasons, especially in today’s globalised world: the search for a sense of identity and belonging. In addition to the elaborate interiors of the Lodge buildings, Herrmann portrays members, ritualistic still lives, as well as the everyday backdrops of life in a lodge. Capturing both the enigmatic and the ordinary, she reveals a complex, humorous and sometimes contradictory image of contemporary Freemasonry.

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  • Temple of ‘ARLS Piratininga 0140’ Lodge, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014.

  • Hand of a Freemason during New Year’s Celebration, Bonn, Germany, 2014. The ring shows the square and compasses, both Masonic symbols.

  • Ritual in memory of the brethren who have passed away at ‘Reinoldus zur Pflichttreue’ Lodge, Dortmund, Germany, 2012.

  • Member of ‘De Vriendschap’ Lodge, The Hague, and ‘Concord’ Lodge Rotterdam,
    The Netherlands, 2013.

  • Templars’ knife in the library of ‘Reinoldus zur Pflichttreue’ Lodge, Dortmund, Germany, 2013.

  • Temple of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire West Riding, Bradford, England, 2015. The Provincial Grand Lodge building at Spring Bank Place was closed down the day after this photo was taken. The dogs belong to a member of the board of directors of Spring Bank Place. On this day he picked up the property of his Lodge.

  • Past Master of ‘Günther zur Eintracht’ Lodge, Rudolstadt, and ‘Zur aufgehenden Sonne’ Lodge, Sonneberg, Germany. His Mother Lodge is ‘Freimut und Wahrheit zu Cöln’, Cologne, Germany. Photographed at his home in Hennef, Germany, 2013.

  • Members of ‘Terpsichore Lodge No. 7454’ preparing for the meeting at ‘Freemasons’ Hall’, London, England, 2015.

  • Temple of ‘De Schakel’ Lodge, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2013.

  • Member of ‘Emirat Shriners Europe’ and ‘Zu den Romeriken Bergen’ Lodge, Remscheid, Germany, 2016. The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, or Shriners for short, is an appendant body of Freemasonry. They describe themselves as a fraternity based on fun and have a charitable purpose.

  • Still life in the common room at the Lodge building of The Hague, The Netherlands, 2013.

  • Temple of ‘Ha-Ogen No. 79’ Lodge, Ashdod, Israel, 2016. The Lodge was founded in 1999 and meets in an old underground bunker.

  • Three holy books (Koran, New Testament and Old Testament) opened on the altar at the Lodge building in Haifa, Israel, 2016. In Israel, lodges practise with three holy books. The candidate can decide on which of the three holy books he wants to take his Masonic Obligation.

  • Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel and member of ‘Na’aman No. 61’ Lodge in Haifa. Photographed in Tel Aviv, Israel, 2016.

  • The Chamber of Reflection at ‘Friedrich zur Vaterlandsliebe’ Lodge, Koblenz, Germany, 2016. The Chamber of Reflection can look very different depending on the location and jurisdiction. It is a dark room where candidates can reflect before their initiation into Freemasonry.

  • Preparing for the meeting at ‘Reinoldus zur Pflichttreue’ Lodge, Dortmund, Germany, 2013.

  • The mystic chain, Germany, 2016. The mystic chain (or initiates chain) symbolises the close connection of the brethren.

  • Tyler at ‘Freemasons’ Hall’, London, England, 2015. The Tyler has to guard the door during a meeting from the outside.

  • Grand Temple of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Germany, 2016. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Saxony is one of the biggest Lodge buildings in Germany. 19 Lodges meet in this building.

  • Wallpaper at the Masonic museum ‘Cultureel Maçonniek Centrum’ in The Hague, The Netherlands, 2013.