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In collaboration with the Lucent Dossier underground cirque troupe, photographer August Bradley presents A Theater of Darkness, an enchanting visual narrative filled with curiosity and terror. As if birthed from the pages of an H.G. Wells novel, Bradley’s circus characters are confined to an old, anachronistic vaudeville theater—long after their performances, they lurk in the steampunk underground, yearning for the outside world and hoping for escape.

Like serpents banished undeservingly to a mysterious hellscape, they writhe between metal bars, craning their faces towards elusive, seductive light. These creatures are, as Bradley puts it, frozen for all eternity, fixed within both their abandoned surroundings and the camera’s tight frame. Though the images are shot in razor-sharp focus, their dramatic lighting and saturated hues harken back to the Pictorialist movement at the turn of the century, and rather than portraying a realistic world, A Theater of Darkness suggests an internal, psychological space. These caged humanoid beasts seem to exist in a magical state of permanent sensuousness. Desperate in their desire to escape this dark prison, they dance erotically and board an elevator that seems never to move, forever gazing upon us with piecing eyes.

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https://vimeo.com/91902945

https://vimeo.com/57287960

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