Snake Dancer

Snake Dancer/Stephen Fearnley

A gem from the past. It was in the bottom of a box with a pile of old negatives- and yes – a picture made with film (circa 1980’s) and taken with a plastic lens camera that I bought from a toy shop. No digital business here.In fact the camera was not 35mm but 110 mm film – remember those shitty little cartridges ?

I love its softness. Its film-ness. The man in the suit is about to let out a tiger from the cage. I have no idea what the actual circus was and who the snake woman is, but there is a lost-in-time quality going on. It captures that other worldliness of carny life and the shape of the snake looks like the dancer is holding a lyre or some strange musical instrument. If it wasnt for the man’s sideburn I’d swear it was some spooky midwestern sideshow from the 1930’s.

There’s a Bill Brandt feeling in this pic- but that’s not suprising considering he was my hero at the time -he still is actually- when I was studying photography at art school.

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