Sorry I missed a day but was seriously sleep deprived. At 10am yesterday I met with my photo assistant, Mauro, and went to the house of his family to meet them all. They were very generous and open with me and I stayed for lunch with them. Then Mauro and I went looking for a chip for my unlocked GoPhone which I brought from home. Now I have a working cell phone for Peru on which I can make local calls for almost nada.
One more day. Tomorrow night I will sleep in my bed in Lima.
At 9 tonight I will call Sra C______o at her home and connect so we can talk on Thursday or Friday. I plan to begin shooting on Monday and I will shoot from about 10am – 2pm every week day. Other times are for travel and getting the film to the lab. I know I will not be comfortable until I have at least 10 rolls done and can identify the direction, the approach that I am taking and if it works. Often that is something I recognize after the fact.
I will not be able to post tomorrow as I will be on planes but I’ll be back here on Thursday.
Amazing email from Sra. C___o from the Municipalidad de Lima with lots of very useful information about the locales of various itinerant circuses in the surrounding areas of Lima. I have a place to start and a humble circus to begin with. She writes about the harassment these street performers get from the local government and their neighbors. “With all the crime, the police bother them as if they were drug lords, ” she noted. It will be interesting to hear about what they encounter.
I am ready to add my Rollei just in case the Hassie gives me trouble. I don’t want to be stuck with a 4X5 and have it hamper my style.
Funny story from my dad (who is 95 and in super health). He was reminiscing about his childhood in Peru and a time when he was 14. The family went on vacation to a seaside town called Mollendo, on the Pacific coast, and my dad took his soccer ball with him. In the afternoon he found a bunch of other boys to start a game on the beach. Now that was forbidden and soon the police came to break up the game.
Having none of it, the boys continued playing between the legs of the policemen, running circles around them and laughing. Finally they were caught and dragged off to the police station and left to sit, while parents were sought.
After about three hours, the dinner for the policemen was delivered to the station and left on the front table. My dad and the boys ate it all and, when discovered, the policemen were furious. The boys protested vociferously, saying that they were being unfairly starved.
Today tying up loose ends at home with school stuff. Still packing the last bits and pieces. I realize I am close to the edge, emotionally.
Three days ago, a Mack truck got on my butt, about 2 inches from my rear, and honked at me at a red light. Unhesitatingly, I shoved the car into PARK, stomped up to the front of this giganto metal thing with traffic at a standstill, and read the bastard the riot act. Some people were yelling things out their car windows but it was so heated I couldn’t even hear them.
At 61 I refuse to eat it.
Mauro, my Peruvian guard and photo assistant, called today, wanting to know how we were going to solve the transportation issue, how we would get to the outlying towns where the circuses might be. Taxis is the best way I told him but I would prefer to work on that once I am down there, rather than get someone now. I’d rather have someone different all the time who has no idea where we are going. Safer.
Four days to go before I leave and there is a mountain of details to address.
I wanted to bring the large prints from last year along with me to show some galleries or museum people but it is impossible with the restrictions on baggage. I already have one bag too many and 2 bags are just cameras, film, printer, negative sleeves, binders, model releases, iPod, iPhone, and all the attendant cords and doodads that go with them. Dang.
The budget is somewhat tight and I am hoping that I can work out a deal with Profesa, the company I use there, for my film development.
I am starting to think the 4X5 is a questionable choice, not the camera I like the most, but maybe the challenge will be worth it. My trusty Hassie may be the camera I use after all. I may need to work fast.
The first place I think I will go will be to San Juan de Lurigancho, a neighborhood on the outskirts where there is a young man who owns a small circus.
I have one bodyguard, Mauro, who has spoken to a friend to work with us as well, so there will be two security “serenos” with me when I work. I am sure I will need them, especially if I am under a dark cloth.
This is the first entry for the trip I am taking to Lima to photograph people who work in circuses on the outskirts of Lima.
I am asked by friends why I want to do this.
I think there maybe one association with a memory from my childhood in the 1950’s. When I was about 9 or 10, I went in Southern Illinois to a county fair, the closest thing to a small itinerant circus, not the Barnum and Bailey type spectacle. I remember the faces of the people who worked there, carnies, mainly, and the freaks in the freak show. My brother and I each bought 25 cent tickets to go in that sideshow and I remember the sad man in an animal skin loincloth who had elephantiosis. We looked at each other shyly. I was mortified.
That’s an early fascination.
I also realize that small circuses are disappearing. In Lima there used to be hundreds and now there are only a spattering, due in part, I think, to the entertainment TV provides.
I like to look at pictures of circus entertainers, of magicians, mimes, and puppeteers. I also love pictures with umbrellas and blimps in them but I cannot tell you why. They draw me in.
I am taking a Toyo 4X5 field camera, a Hasselblad medium format camera, both for black and white film. I am also bringing a digital camera and printer to give color photos to those whom I photograph. For me there has to be some reciprocal exchange.
At 61 I want to do everything I want to do before I am too old to do it. I do not want to live too long, so there is a lot to cram into the next twenty years. I am not trying to be morbid, just clear as to the impetus.