Portraits of Retired Polish Clowns

May 2, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Julinek was once the Juilliard of the circus. For more than 40 years, 1500 teachers, artists, technicians, clowns, gymnasts, and jugglers lived in a “circus city” in the middle of Kampinoski National Park, 18 miles from Warsaw, Poland. Julinek closed over a decade ago and the circus city started to dwindle and die. Photographer Rafal Milach took these portraits of retired circus performers in their homes and at the dilapidated site of the former school. Meet Jozef Maksymiuk. He’s 59. He’s performed as a clown for 25 years. He’s been retired for eight. He still has his ballerina outfit. Meet other retired circus performers in the gallery above. (Photos: Rafal Milach)