On World Circus Day, a peek backstage at Cirque du Soleil
Australian Photographer Tim Georgeson has always been fascinated by the circus.
“I’ve just been always interested in that way of life. Not that I want to live that way of life, but I’ve just been fascinated by the characters and the people that are drawn to that lifestyle,” Georgeson told msnbc.
On assignment for National Geographic France in 2002, Georgeson traveled Europe, Canada, and Africa, photographing circus performers in an attempt to show the “evolution of circus.”
“I was shooting all traditional circus and showing how sort of sad that is,” Georgeson remarked. “Not many people are going to those circuses any more.” His project for the magazine also covered “contemporary cirque,” a more recently developed form where shows are character-driven, convey a story or theme, and rarely use animals. Georgeson even attended and covered an “underground circus” in Africa.
Ultimately, the assignment brought him to what he called “big bang circus,” like the highly popular Cirque de Soleil, a modern theatrical company that was founded in Montreal in 1984 by two street performers. Today, Cirque de Soleil brings in revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
During his travels in 2002, Georgeson shot the black and white photos seen here as part of a personal series. The Cirque de Soleil performers backstage in Brussels “love being photographed,” he said. “Performance still continues backstage, they’re always still performing and carrying on and trying things.”
Georgeson’s goal? “Just trying to get a little bit of a voyeuristic view into their life.”