'There are two types of people in this world. People who hate clowns...and clowns.'
D.J. MacHale, The Quillan Games
Although I love the quote above, I am not sure I completely agree with it. For me, the draw, and the equal or stronger repel of clowns is complex. Like most conflicting and complex emotions, the root stems from our childhood. I remember vividly moving from going from loving clowns to fearing clowns pretty quickly.
Like most little kids, I loved a clown at a fair or party, especially one that made and gave me balloon animals. When I got a bit older, I began to connect that at the circus, clowns were no only responsible for those loud noises, but also diverting our attention from the realities of the show. When an act made a mistake, a circus animal was not co-operating, or a performer stumbled, it was the clown who appeared to try to ensure all that we saw was the magic.
It didn't really work fully though, as the clowns soon became associated with everything negative about the show. This, along with the rise of clowns as murderers and psychopaths in so many movies and TV shows, had clowns moving from starring in childhood fantasy's to become the lead in so many of our childhood nightmares.
I wasn't going to feature clowns this year, but after discovering the work of New York's Photo15, I changed my mind. Photo15's clowns, like many people's feelings about them, is complex. While some are terrifying and sinister, in other images, the clown make-up couldn't hide the hottness, and a piece of the souls, of the men beneath.
Clowns are one of the rare characters capable of attracting, and repulsing simultaneously. The exaggeration, of color and movement, and especially the exaggeration of specific body parts, (lips, eyes, nose and big feet) leads to various reactions from different people. Some, find these exaggerations funny, others find them off putting and scary. There is also something about that 'permanent smile' or 'frown' that so many clowns wear that causes most people to want to keep their distance.
With so many 'evil' and psychotic clowns clogging up the media landscape, I thought there needed to be a few examples of the beauty beneath. Now, these clowns may not undo anyone with deep seated coulrophobia, but I would't mind having to wash the red and white make-up off on my body after a night with one of these clowns...
Although humans come in all colors, shapes and sizes, our bodies, and body parts...are for the most part, similar is structure. Although nature has certainly thrown a few curve balls, for most humans, the head is at the top, eyes, nose and mouth out in front on the face, arms at the side, and legs attached to our feet at the bottom.
What defines our character, not the character of who we are as a person, but the character we want the world to see, is all about the outside. The way we walk and talk, the way we keep our hair and most notably, the clothes we choose to wear. Most people may not necessarily think it, but our clothing is a costume, even wearing just a t-shirt and jeans creates a character, the expression of who we want to be that day.
The rules of character have been thrown out the window. There was a time we adults safely told children that they could trust a teacher, a police officer, a member of the clergy. Today we're come to question everyone, no matter how noble their profession may be. I don't think there is any profession however, that has gone through such a profound assassination of character than that of a clown.
We all have both the Yin and Yang, but for clowns, the distance between is immense. It's why they're such a fascinating a subject to explore visually, especially if presented and photographed well. Both model Do_Mar and photographer Eckhard from male2male are experts at the exploration of character. The last time I featured Eckhard's work, his shots of model Aaron Mark, (A Longtime Collaboration) included Aaron taking on characters as diverse as a basketball player, a sailor and hot cop. When I last featured Do_Mar, (Schöne Albträume) he was also in character, donning various facial coverings including a gas mask and even a horses head.
I was thrilled to find one of Eckhard's images of Do-Mar yesterday as I was finishing up my clown theme. This set of images so beautifully capture the opposing sides of Do_Mar's clown character. Although his socks and hat may say whimsy, Do-Mar's costume, along with the colorful balloons and painted on smile are deceptive. With just a quick glance, our clown may appear joyful, but a closer look, especially at his eyes and mouth, tells us happy is just part of the disguise. The character of the clown lays just below the surface, with emotions more complex than the make-up can possibly hide. Check out more of male2male's images of Do_Mar on THE OVER-FLOW HERE:
'Dare to wear the foolish clown face.' Frank Sinatra
I decided it was time to look back on some of my previous clown posts, and was surprised actually with how many I have featured on FH over the years. This past year, clowns have resurfaced in many projects, most notably, the re-make of Stephen King's IT, and on American Horror Story. Not to mention all of the clown sightings, and frightings in 2018. Most of the clowns I have featured over the years on FH haven't been necessarily as scary... as they have been naked.
JM Rich and Michael have both appeared on FH in the past, in and out of clown make-up...and in and out of clothing! I have yet however, to feature their work together. Below are some new clown themed shots, starting with JM by Mr Paparazzi followed by JM and Michael shot together by Dusti Cunningham. Check out more of my past clown features at the link below.