In 2010 I had a concept in my head one day that I should photograph my favorite subjects (Clowns) without their performance costume and makeup and match it with a performance shot. The ‘Unmask’ shot would be black and white and the performance shot in color. I decided to call it The Clown UnMask. I began shooting in Feb. 2010 with one of the funniest clowns I know and admire. Glen Heroy.
I followed up with many more (almost 50) until I stopped shooting the series in 2016. Here is a comprehensive list of the performers (with links to the original posts) I documented in my ‘hallway’ studio. In the order in which I photographed them. Full post are reached by using the links. Some portrait are provided for visual excitement!
(The wall came down in 2016 so the series was discontinued)
The side show at Coney Island was still active and run by John Strong.
Chris Allison had this to say about the day:
“I remember heading out to Coney Island that day to shoot pictures with Jim. We had no idea John Strong was going to be set up there. I had met John at the Sideshow gathering and thought lets see if we could shoot some pic’s on his lot. ….. John was very gracious to let us shoot wherever we wanted…. great pictures that day! Thanks John and thanks Jim!”
One of the funniest acts I have seen and enjoyed is Chris Allison’s side show freak CONEY ISLAND CHRIS. He mixes the zany attitude of the likes of Jerry Lewis’ nutty professor and Pee Wee Herman with a glass eating, finger in a rat trap, silly costume and hysterical facial gestures Coney Island simple guy trying to learn the ropes of sideshowville. Coney Island Chris made it to the finalist on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.