Tsirkus Fotografika, or the "Photographic Circus" is an ongoing non-profit, public arts project based in Philadelphia, PA, designed to bring the creative process directly to communities and document populations at their most lively.
Employing a mobile portrait studio and trailing-edge technologies such as analog film, old-fashioned "hot" lighting, and large format equipment, Tsirkus follows in the footsteps of itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town making portraits on-the-spot. Additionally, the project incorporates a multimedia show centered around the imagery Tsirkus creates. This not only shows people what the project does, it fuels enthusiasm for audience members to volunteer as models and create new images.
Why Have Tsirkus At Your Next Event?
We generate seriously needed revenue for our sponsors, but equally important, we add value to your happening in a unique and memorable way. We have a national and international following that continues to grow. The instant black and white positives made right on-the-spot, without the benefit of any electronics have a timeless, nearly magical appeal. Onlookers will be fascinated as they watch a fully finished image emerge after a short, but somewhat involved manipulation of the antique large format equipment, whose operation is a performance in itself. Participants who are photographed not only get an archivally mounted keepsake portrait but share in a fascinating creative and technical collaboration by making an impromptu art piece, traveling back in time to when photography was much more involved than just “point-n-shoot.”
Negative Energy: The forerunner project during the 2005 Philadelphia Fringe Festival wherein approximately 200 free impromptu portraits were taken using the sidewalk as studio space. The normally discarded paper negatives were scanned in, manipulated and posted online.
A Cabinet of Photographic Curiosities: August-September, 2008, Philadelphia Fringe show at AxD Gallery, Philadelphia. A well-attended gallery show plus an artist-in-residency wherein approximately seventy free portraits were taken in the gallery in a makeshift tent.
The Grand Chron'nauts Tea: October, 2008, at Brooklyn Indie Market, NYC. Free portraits working with the Steampunk community.