A circus in his home
Photographer Francesca Balaguer-Mercado captures a circus owner’s residence with characters straight out of his colorful traveling show
“The Majestic” is a series of photographs taken in the wonderland known as The Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco, CA. It was a project that started from the desire to take portraits of local circus performers in the Bay Area. After sending numerous e-mails to various circus troupes asking to photograph them, I only received a response from one— Gregangelo’s Velocity Circus.
I immediately responded to the e-mail, which was quickly followed by a phone call from Gregangelo Herrera, the founder and owner of Velocity. Greg said he wasn't a big "phone person" and would rather meet me in person to discuss the ideas I had for the photo series. I was quite reluctant when he said we should meet at his home to go over the details. I was living in San Francisco then, and had my fair share of, let's say weird and sometimes scary experiences meeting up with complete strangers. But there was something telling me to go for it. So, just for safety, I left a note on my study table saying I was to meet this guy named Gregangelo Herrera, along with his address. Just in case.
I arrived at Greg's residence, and the minute Greg opened his front door, everything made sense. Entering his home was like landing in a different world. I was instantly inspired.
The concept for the series comes from the idea that this vibrant world called “The Majestic” exists within Greg's home. Each image was inspired by a specific location in the house. Various elements like colors, style, and mood all inspired me in creating visual narratives for specific rooms and spaces around the house. I would look at a space and think, "What kind of character would hang out here? What would their story be?" And that's how I would build my concept.
I think one of the main reasons why “The Majestic” was successful was the way Greg, as a fellow artist, trusted my creative vision. He allowed me to create freely while being inspired by his creations. He let me interpret his art through my eyes. I had the freedom to style each area as I pleased, use the models, makeup, and wardrobe I believed would best tell the story.
In the end, I felt like I was given the opportunity to really develop my personal aesthetic and style during this project. ‘The Majestic’ series has won awards in the prestigious International Photography Awards and has been exhibited at the Kimball Gallery of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA.