I never actually wanted to run away with the circus. My few circus experiences as a child only impressed me with the overwhelming reality of smelly elephants and resentful and fearful animals.
BUT, I love the idea of The Circus, that romantic, freaky, bigger than life, stranger than fiction carny world. Especially Victorian circus acts, freak shows, all that chicanery of fake oddities mixed in with genuinely rare physical anomalies or extraordinary performance talents.
Sooooo, as much as I complained about the work involved (ask Fred), I could not resist the challenge of creating a trompe-l'oeil mural of a Victorian circus audience to be the backdrop for our diptych portrait of Stephanie the Flame-Eater. Fred also thought it would be fun to have her in the role of a classic Strong Man as the fun flip-side to her more feminine performance.
We did have fun, and ate a lot of cookies, and in the end it was way better than running away with the circus... plus no animals were harmed in the making of these images.
Watch the two-minute timelapse of all the prep involved, it's amazing how fast it appears to come together, ha ha.
Photography and mysterious dark room techniques - Fred Fraser (also uncredited barbell construction)
Make-up and body airbrushing - Dana Mooney
Set and styling - me
Performance (plus providing some of the fun wardrobe and genuine flame-eating props) - Stephanie