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Christian Kettiger : The circus people


One day I was sitting in a waiting room reading an article about freaks and it mentioned the town Gibsonton,” says Kettinger in the introduction to the series. “In the forties, a circus giant found the place, took a liking to it, and started spending his winters there. The idea caught on, and Gibsonton became a sort of resort for circus people and, especially, freaks. Fascinated, I decided a few months later to pay the town a visit to see if any freaks would sit for me. I found an old man who used to be the impresario for a number of famous freaks, and he told me gently, “You’re too late, man, they’re almost all dead now.” Disappointed, I started to walk around the town. I met people, some from the circus business, and others who chose to live there because nobody asks questions. I took portraits of everyone who interested me and was surprised every time by their generosity, as if by taking their photo I was giving them some sort of recognition. Some people asked why I was taking so many pictures and I told them it’s what I do for a living. That was all they needed to hear.

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