Seedy side of the circus
Jill Freedman's gritty black and white photography captures the dark side of a popular public spectacle
By Allison Meier
Jill Freedman, “Circus Days” (1971), vintage gelatin silver print
(All images courtesy Higher Pictures)
This article originally appeared on Hyperallergic.
In documenting the rough corners of 1970s New York, Jill Freedman brought out with her photography something old-school lurid; like the flashbulb exposures of Weegee and Brassaï in the decades before, she always offered a startlingly and very human view on her street subjects. When in 1971 the photographer, then in her early 30s, borrowed a white Volkswagen bus to join the circus for two months, she turned her 35-mm camera on the claustrophobia of the caged animals and strange lives of the clowns and performers.
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