New Providence twins capture top photography prize in Monaco
Jason and Justin Senft's photo of a circus elephant deftly grasping a baby bottle in her trunk to feed a performer's baby was awarded "Best of Show" by H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and exhibited at the 36th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo.
By Independent Press Independent Press
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012,
MONTE-CARLO, Monaco — A charming and perfectly executed photograph of a circus elephant feeding a clown’s baby taken by Jason and Justin Senft, New Providence artists and identical twins, is the “best of show” winner in the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque’s 2011 photography contest. The winning image portraying the “Children and the Circus” contest theme was selected by Federation Honorary President H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco from a dozen finalists selected by an international panel of judges and will be exhibited during the 36th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo (Jan. 19-29) and featured on the cover of the Federation’s 2012 wall calendar. The award also includes hotel accommodations and tickets to competition shows at the Festival.
Defying the famous show business saying, “Never work with children or animals”, artists Jason and Justin Senft dreamed up the fanciful concept of a circus elephant deftly grasping a baby bottle in its trunk to feed a circus performer’s baby. After several weeks on the road with John Ringling North II’s Kelly Miller Circus and working closely with elephant trainer Armando Loyal, Becky the elephant, circus clown Ryan Combs, and his six-month-old son Nicolas, Messrs. Senft finally realized their vision and captured a magical moment at the circus. The Senfts were also among the winners of the 2010 photography contest with another “Norman Rockwell-esque” circus image.
“We are inspired by the rich visual history of the circus, in particular, the traditional circus, under a canvas Big Top,” say the Senfts, “and we hope to capture and convey the beauty and excitement that happens when the circus comes to town.” The Senft’s dedication and passion for their art has them going to great lengths to get the perfect image. Often experiencing the same conditions as the performers, they have traveled hundreds of miles and endured sweltering and frigid temperatures, torrential rains and muddy lots – just another day at the circus. “It would be a thrill,” say the Senfts, “to obtain a grant so we could spend more time documenting the unique art form and lifestyle of traditional traveling circuses which are gradually disappearing within the United States and Europe.”
Jason and Justin Senft have been collaborators all their lives and defy categorization by skillfully working in many disciplines such as sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, video/animation, computer graphics, theatre arts, as well as the art of magic and illusion. The Senfts’ work has received many awards and honors and has been exhibited in museums, galleries, private collections, and featured in print and on television. Jason and Justin Senft graduated with honors from Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts, earning Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Communications Design.
Participating in this year’s contest were amateur and professional photographers from 26 countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The 2011 international jury comprised circus historians Greg Parkinson (USA), Antonio Giarola (Italy), Arthur Hofmeester (The Netherlands), Mark St. Leon (Australia), Julio Revolledo Cárdenas (Mexico), and Charles Ricketts (South Africa).