Life at the Circus | 1930's
I first got the idea to do a circus themed photoshoot in April 2015 when I went to the Ringling Brothers Mansion. And 10 months later after research, finding costumes, and help from friends, I finally finished. (Other inspirations came from the movie "Water for Elephants" and the book
"The Night Circus")
Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, step right up to the greatest show on earth!
Even during the depression in the 1930's, when the circus was at its lowest, there was still a continued interest. The performers would help the audience step out of reality of the Great Depression and into the illusion of the circus.
“The whole thing's an illusion, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's what people want from us. It's what they expect.” - Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants
Life in the circus was never an easy one. They would all cram into a train filled with performers, trainers, animals, tents, circus wagons, etc and travel all around the country. The "Big Top" was what they called the main tent and it took a whole crew of people to set up. Tents for dressing rooms, animals, kitchens, side acts, and many more also had to be set up for that day. Food, jobs, and money were scarce during the 1930's. Many performers were "red lighted" which meant they were thrown off a moving train in the middle of the night because the circus couldn't afford them anymore. But to many performers the circus was their family and the only home they knew.
"Now I don't know if I picked that train or that train picked me. I'm not running away, I'm coming home." - Water for Elephants
"The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers.
It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."
-Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
Watch the Behind the Scenes Vintage Circus Photoshoot!