Ashton Circus
Brisbane 1988

It was 1988 with no digital photography in sight, as a photographer I was shooting on my Hasselblad, a self-employed commercial and advertising photographer. I spotted a poster, the circus was coming to town.
Child hood memories flooded back of the days as children we would run down to the local park to witness the circus carnival unloading the trucks, putting up the tents, walking the elephants and feeding the animals, so exciting to a child!
I was determined as an adult to explore these nomadic people and their show. Attending the circus daily for about a week, I asked the owners for permission to photograph the performers and members of the crew. The owners welcomed me and give me almost free access to their entire camp. On one occasion I had been taking portraits backstage, peering through a narrow gap in the main curtain, I became so focused on the live performance that I completely lost thought of where I was.
Suddenly I felt the strangest feeling and turning to my left I was confronted by a strange object.

It was so large in my vision, it completely blocked out my view of the backstage area and in the shadows of the stage lights I could not tell what it was. I reached out and touched the warm trunk of a huge elephant who had so skillfully crept up beside me without my knowledge, to stand there and watch the show with me. Waiting for his cue to perform. I was amazed, I had been warned how dangerous this particular animal was, repeatedly told to stay well clear of him, as he had killed before. A wonderful experience to have shared, he meant me no harm and we watched to show together for another few minutes.