Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde’s journey into the Kingdom of the Little People in Kunming, China is featured this week at Slate’s photo blog. “For me, it’s about how this kind of place can exist,” she told Slate. “What does it tell you about a person who starts this and creates it? What are his intentions?”
She goes on to explain that one of the hardest things to capture on film was the overwhelming boredom among the performers. “A lot of time the people are just hanging around in their room or on their beds lying around,” she said.
That circus freaks get bored should not be too surprising, but it is still often radical today to consider that people categorized as freaks can in fact be boring. (More on that next week.)
A theme park funneling in people who pay to look at dwarfs and the state of disability rights in China are worth a zillion words each. But for now, De Wilde’s photos alone have plenty to say on the matter. The feature is definitely worth your time, and to those who do check it out, I leave one question open to you:
Does Slate’s reporting on the exploitation of dwarfs in freak shows now make up for its past SNAFUs?