The show must go on

The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on.

In this phrase from Queen’s song, there is all the soul of the Circus and also of our lives in Covid-19 times. A few days before lockdown, I was lucky enough to take backstage photos in a small family circus.

Early age children are initiated, according to their abilities, to the circus discipline most congenial to their body. The circus has always aroused curiosity and dreams in me. As a child, I imagined my wandering life between acrobats and lions, free from social compulsions that I saw saddening my parents day by day.

Growing awareness has changed, but my passion for the circus has remained, so every time the long colored caravan arrives announced by megaphones, I sneak in the hot awnings in the sun and ask talk with the boss, to be able to take pictures. I have never received a “NO”! There is always only a single Boss who commands and decides the fate of the community.

Once absorbed in this world, all my 5 senses are stimulated, and there is a childish displaced excitement. At this point, either you run away, or you are enchanted. The bad smell of the manure clashes with the beauty and the movements of the acrobats practicing a little further away. The clown with a veiled sad look puts on his make-up and hinting a smile a moment later. These ups and downs of emotions make lift the skin.

Everyone is so intent on their daily exercises that no one notices me, and like a ghost, I walk near them. With the silent click of my mirrorless camera, I feel invisible. This is perfect to me for doing my reportage, being able to look at the animals in their eyes and looking at the intimate scenes before the show.

"My name's Elvio Maccheroni, and I live in a lodge inside the Natural Park of Mount Subasio in central Italy. Photography has always been my passion, and now it has become a job; including National Geographic among my collaborations. My photographic style prefers reportage, and for this reason, I love to travel and always look for new situations in which to infiltrate. My Fuji kit allows me to go unnoticed and thus maintain the naturalness of the moment."


  1. Wow, what a coincidence. A month ago, an Italian photographer posted a story on this site about a circus, dealing with Covid and trying to still put on a good show. At first, I thought this was a second piece, until I looked back to see it was a different person.

    I guess I should have known, the first was 100% black and white, while this is shot in color, but sometimes we switch to shake things up.

    This is very nice work. You seem to have made yourself virtually invisible, allowing access and proximity without any apparent reaction to your presence. The color really works against the often darker back grounds. My favorite is the vertical with the man holding the yellow mirror contrasted with the red curtain… it just pops!

    BTW… If you are interested, that previous story on the circus was posted on this site on December 31, by Corrado Fulvi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 96 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here