Photographer Christopher Chadbourne is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of these images. These photographs are from his book/project ‘State Fair‘. To see Christopher’s body of work click on any image.
The Last Living Munchkin From the Wizard of Oz and Other Stories
State fairs are both one of America’s most democratic institutions and a stage upon which the ideosyncracies of human behavior play out against a backdrop of color, contextual complexity and human diversity. For $5-$10 one can buy a ticket to the State Fair and once inside the gates, everybody has an equal opportunity to win at the games of chance; eat fried foods on a stick; watch the livestock competitions and a waterskiing squirrel; or take a near death experience thrill ride. It is a place of sensual overload on the eyes, ears and digestive tract. And it is a beloved American ritual drawing millions every year. They represent the spectrum of American diversity—in income, ethnicity, race, age, education and occupation. I photographed engulfed in the crowd—subject and context intertwined; to capture the exuberance, the motion, the color and the facial expressions that suggest stories buried within. I also wanted to document this unique American institution. Since I began photographing three years ago, the Michigan and Nevada fairs have closed and the “last living Munchkin” has passed away. While thriving in some states, the economic viability and the balancing act between the regional authentic and the anywhere generic are in many of the states, increasingly precarious.