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Clownville | A Photo Series That Will Haunt Your Dreams Tonight

By Hanssie on May 9th 2015

Portfolio_Clownville_plasticfaceWhen I was seven years old, a nice lady named Roxie and her daughters would pick me up and take me to church. Roxie was a teacher, but on weekends she was hired to perform at birthday parties as a clown. Sometimes, she’d come pick me up and let me try on her big red nose or come to church events and make balloon animals. Roxie the Clown made me and lots of kids happy with her humor and fun show. Clowns were innocent, fun and not at all scary.

Then Stephen King came along and single-handedly ruined it for all clowns with his 1986 novel and subsequent movie, It. In ‘It,’ Pennywise the evil clown who terrorized people was the basis of nightmares. Actually, clowns have always had a sinister side to them dating back to ancient times with the jesters and fools, so if you’re scared of clowns or find them creepy, you are not alone.

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Italian portrait photographer Eolo Perfido’s  series, Clownville, is one that will give you the heebie jeebies. Inspired by silent film stars of old, Perfido’s images of clowns shows the sinister side of these performers. The fine art images, which are as striking as they are terrifying, enhances the dark, macabre reputation of clowns.

Each carefully crafted scene was created after Perfido did extensive research on clowns and recruited friends and family to dress up as a clown character. Shot at home or in a studio, with the help of a talented makeup artist, each model took on their role and unleashed their inner monsters for the camera.

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Perfido is a Leica Street Photography master and has been published in various publications such as the New York Times, Communication Arts, Computer Ars, L’espresso, Russian Vogue, GQ, and Vision. Perfido has won numerous awards for his photography. Clownville, one of his most successful series, was recently on exhibition in a solo show at Galleria Janet Coast of Recife in Brazil during the International Circus Festival. You can see more of Eolo Perfido’s street photography here and more in the Clownville series on his website.

To order fine art prints of the Clownville series, click here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    All those clowns are scary .

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  2. Thomas Horton

    No wonder small children cry when they see clowns. I have always found clowns creepy, even when they are not trying to be creepy.

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  3. Gonzalo Broto

    Spooky and fascinating portraits!

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  4. zac supple

    creepy but beautiful

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  5. Jason Pasqua

    The fella with the bullseye on his chest is fantastic!

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  6. Hannes Nitzsche

    Love these moody, dark images of clowns! I really do and I always have liked the drawings of sad clowns too. Don’t know what it is but i find it awesome. Great work by Perfido!

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  7. Kim Farrelly

    Thank’s Hanssie and I’m reading this right before bed too, I’m sure I get to see them tonight while I sleep now.

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  8. Jean-Francois Perreault

    Won’t sleep for 3 days but absolutely love it!

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  9. Kristopher Galuska

    Wow! Stunning! Lighting, texture, concept, everything!

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  10. Marcos Rodriguez

    A bit creepy, but the images are awesome!!

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  11. Ben Webb

    This is amazing work. I love clowns.

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