|Inside the Live
Before the Magic Kingdom and Six Flags, there was the
travelling carnival and traditional amusement park. Humble by today's standards, this institution still retains
its stronghold on the American psyche: weekend excursions with the family,
cotton candy and corn dogs, towering metal contraptions with names like 'The
Zipper', unwinnable ring tosses.
|Even if the carnival and traditional
amusement park are not quite what they used to be, they linger in a collective memory that is perhaps closer
than we think.
Jeff Brouws - among the most accomplished colour
photographers of our time - captures the half-experienced, half-remembered
landscape of the American carnival and amusement park midway in over 80 resplendent
photographs. Temporary architecture, gravity-defying amusement rides,
brightly coloured booths, the beseeching barkers - all are preserved by
Brouw's lense in the perpetual twilight of the midway. Dozens of
historical photographs from such great Farm Security Administration
photographers as Jack Delano, Russell Lee, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott
and Arthur Rothstein accompany cultural historian Bruce Caron's vivid
Inside the Live Reptile Tent is a
journey to the heart of American recreation, where once beat the pulse of every
weekend and holiday adventure. Whether 100 years old or as new as fresh paint,
the carnivals and amusement parks seen here will delight those who cherish their memories. And the
rest will get a taste of the thrills still out there.