Vagabond Circuses of El Salvador

From the age of 12-17 my brother and I lived in the small bucolic town of Zacatecoluca in El Salvador with our grandparents and extended family. San Salvador is the capital city which was approximately 1hr away drive from where we resided and that’s not taking into account the inescapable gridlock that would add unwanted length of time to where you were heading. Needless to say, it was a hassle of a commute and as a kid, composure is something that subsides easily, so for entertainment other than soccer, we looked forward to when the circus would come to town not only because it broke the monotony of every day life but also because admission was dirt cheap.

The circus was a far cry from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which is billed as The Greatest Show on Earth in the states. The majority of them are family operated, they fabricate their own costumes, often had scrawny animals performing and we never dared ate what they sold at the concession stands and yet we always walked away entertained because as a kid sometimes the little things often brought joy to you and so when I came across Steven Laxton’s photo project entitled Circo El Salvador where he “captures the magical behind-the-scene moments of El Salvador’s traveling circuses living out their vans and devoting themselves to their craft and to a nomadic existence,” you can rest assured I was captivated by the entire body of work.

The idea of venturing out to El Salvador for at least a week to dedicate time on a portrait project which I often think about has crossed my mind many times but the unsettling and ongoing gang violence is very discouraging. Nevertheless, I love Steven’s series and it’s invariably appreciable seeing any time of photographic work showcasing a little of El Salvador because the country is after all the birth place of my parents and therefore my second home.