Several adults and children curiously watch the circus show hosted by Pinhead Village. Based on the audience's reactions, they are both entertained and amazed at the sight before them. The photograph was taken from inside another tent, probably the backstage area of the performance. The angle, while somewhat odd, works well because the photographer was able to capture the genuine reactions of the audience during the performance. The banner of the Pinhead Village is prominently displayed against the white roof of the tent. At the very back, there is a line of trees that completes the composition of the photo.
A pinhead is a person with an abnormally smaller head than the average person. Because of this, some of their motor and speech functions could be affected. Circuses from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s featured pinheads as one of their attractions. People tended to view their existence as exotic and entirely unhuman. Pinheads also sought employment at the circuses because they offered permanent employment and, at the same time, the concept of family because the circus members traveled together and stayed in one place.
A lot of things have changed since the old times, as this photograph shows. Although we might feel that the way pinheads were showcased was inhumane, for most of them, they were able to find a family that took care of them. This photograph also demonstrates how people are easily amazed by the unusual- even by other people. Circuses were able to capitalize off this fascination, which is why they tried so desperately to gather many different performers and wild animals for their acts.
From the collection of Fred Bodin of Gloucester MA. Fred was a long time resident and well-known photographer of Gloucester and had one of the best private collections of New England nautical photographs in private hands. Fred was a photojournalist having graduated with this degree from Syracuse University and worked for Yankee Magazine. Fred passed away in 2016 and HIP purchased his collection from his estate.
The world of the circus is both amazing and mysterious. Discover more about it with these photographs: Circus or Wild West Clowns with Shaving Gag, Short History of Circus and Four Young Boys Admiring a Circus Banner for the World's Largest Snakes