Photography is subjective like any other art form: certain pieces will speak very strongly to some people. Circus is the same way. As recent events and the dialogue surrounding them have shown, the circus arts are polarizing. To some, it’s an abomination. But to others, it’s their everything; it speaks to their souls and charms them. Or perhaps circus is their life. The hashtag #circuslife didn’t appear out of thin air.
Though many who work in and around the circus have been doing so for generations of their families, mine is not that way. I had never even seen a circus performance until I was 29 years old. And while I still have never ridden a horse, talked to an elephant, gone up in the wheel, sold popcorn, secured the rigging, or pushed papers in the administrative office, I care very deeply about the people who do all of those things for the Ringling Bros. Gold Unit. Their stories are truly fascinating, and they deserve to be told, not by “animal-rights” activists who vilify them, but by a true fan of ALL their efforts. The biographies on the ringling.com page barely scratch the surface of who these wonderful performers are, and it doesn’t even acknowledge the talented band, hardworking crew, industrious concessions, or organized staff. I’m on a mission to change all that.
If you derive pleasure and satisfaction from seeing these stories told, please become a patron of this site and my work. A measly three dollars a month doesn’t sound like much, but if everyone who cared about preserving circus history could contribute three dollars every month, I’d be able to visit every touring show in the country to share their stories as well.
After news of the Gold Unit’s closing became public, many in the circus world were heard bemoaning the beginning of the end of their livelihoods, lifestyle, and perhaps even the end of this entertainment art form as we know it. Who can say if that’s true or not…but I for one would hate to see this way of life disappear before it’s been documented. Please help me make it happen.
Visit my Patreon page to be my hero and support my work. Thank you so much.