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Seedy side of the circus

In documenting the rough corners of 1970s New York, Jill Freedman brought out with her photography something old-school lurid; like the flashbulb exposures of Weegee and Brassaï in the decades before, she always offered a startlingly and very human view on her street subjects. When in 1971 the photographer, then in her early 30s, borrowed a white Volkswagen bus to join the circus for two months, she turned her 35-mm camera on the claustrophobia of the caged animals and strange lives of the clowns and performers.

Two photographs by Jill Freedman from “Circus Days” (1971), vintage gelatin silver prints

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