Exactly how of these photographs came to be remains a mystery.
Photographs of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1920s are especially scarce. With that said, however, for some unknown reason Charles Clarke, a leaper in the world-renowned aerial act, The Clarkonians, was in possession of (and/or quite possibly the photographer of) a cache of images that show the “Big One” from the inside out. The negatives were eventually given to Sverre O. Braathen by the Clarke family decades after they were taken.
While time has caused damage to many of the volatile nitrate negatives in this collection, what remains of these largely unseen images truly is a window back in time.