Bruce Davidson’s latest book brings together his work in three very different American circuses across a decade of the mid-twentieth century. Davidson’s poetic and profound eye reveals not only the circus that is passing away, but takes us through what could be called the eternal circus. At a three-ring show in 1958 Davidson climbed to the top of the tent to view the performances of famous lion-tamer Clyde Beatty and human-cannonball Hugo Zacchini. His deeper interest was in the daily lives of circus people – the roustabouts, riggers, a pretty girl who rode an elephant in the “spec”, and an intimate series of a dwarf clown. Most of these pictures are published here for the first time. In 1965 at a huge multi-ring coliseum show, Davidson took a more critical look at performances under a steel and concrete environment. Continuing behind the scenes his vision became sharper and more surreal. Finally, in 1967 Davidson caught the elegant exuberance of an Irish one-ring circus. He photographed performances that are the essence of circus, including an eye-to-eye encounter with an exceptional trapeze artist made from a perch at the top of the tent.
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88 pages, 131 tritone plates
Clothbound hardcover with dust jacket