Circus Portraits at Milner Library

15 of my newest portraits, part of the Special Collections and Circus Archive at Illinois State, are now on view on the first floor of the Milner Library at ISU!

Last March I had the privilege of photographing backstage at the Barnum and Bailey Circus as they performed in Moline, IL. My friend from Bennington College, Jonathan, had been working as the traveling educator with the circus for quite some time, and I was excited to see him and visit with his students to discuss photography. I showed the group my Moweaqua portfolio, and we talked about what makes “home” a home, photographing things that only they get to see in their travels and how diverse America can be, depending on whose viewpoint it is coming from. Needless to say, I left my copy of the Americans behind for their traveling library .

After visiting the classes, and taking several class pictures, I spent the next two days backstage during shows, talking with performers, vendors, technicians and staff about their work with Barnum and Bailey. Everyone was so welcoming, and willing to participate that I felt extremely inspired and fortunate.

I can’t thank everyone enough- from the subjects to the circus itself, Jonathan to the folks at the Circus archive at ISU- for their gracious support.  We had a good time selecting images from the archive to accompany the new portraits- I can’t begin to explain what a treasure trove is on the 6th floor of Milner! Enjoy, and thank you again everyone for making this show possible!

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One Response to Circus Portraits at Milner Library

  1. Jonathan says:

    Britten,

    These are fantastic pictures! I especially like “Nebraska” and “Sherry.” You did such a good job capturing them. Especially Sherry, who really didn’t want to have her picture taken and really came out quite beautiful.

    Jonathan

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