“39 years ago in 1982, I was 19 and crazy about taking photos of clowns – I felt that they visualize the complexity, ambiguity and frightfulness of human nature.
What lies beyond the humour of the clown?”
— from Mitsunobu Sawada’s foreword
Thus begins the photobook “Clown” by Japanese photographer Mitsunobu Sawada, consisting of photographs taken in 1982 and 1983. Sawada followed the Holiday’n Circus on their tour, taking him to Toyama Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture. His photographs – the motifs ranging from portraits to moody shots of the circus interior, documentarian pictures of the circus and its surroundings to almost publicity-like shots of the clowns during their performances – approach the clowns with this strange mix of fascination, ridicule, respect and reluctance hinted at in the foreword quoted above. Sawada’s photographs are one of only few documents of the Japanese circus culture in Japan, a tradition that has lost its significance in the 39 years these images were taken.
“Even in these times – and in any times – clowns continue to make us smile and lighten and enrich our hearts with their fragile hearts, fill of warmness and affection, while they keep their pain and loneliness hidden inside.”
— from Mitsunobu Sawada’s afterword
All texts included in Japanese and English translation.