Circus behind bars - Children at play.

CompanyDavid Pickens Photography
PhotographerDavid Pickens
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

In Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) when orphans who grow up living on the streets get in trouble with the police, they are taken away and given a bed, food and an education….. behind bars. Juvenile Prison or as it is called “Training Center for Boys”. I genuinely believe the boys are happy in this situation, away from the hunger, violence and vulnerability. Once a week Serious Fun Social Circus, run a circus skills workshop. Not only does it give these alert, spirited, street wise boys a chance to ‘play’ and be children. I witnessed many other attributes happening. Their skill level, co-ordination, self confidence, problem solving and ability to work together improved hugely. Twenty boys are selected, the dining hall is cleared for the workshop to take place but sometimes a high throw entices them into the adjacent yard where the other ‘locked up’ children look on with curiosity and intrigue.

About Photographer

I am a portrait photographer specializing in the performing arts, Theater, Dance, Cabaret and Circus. After studying Editorial and Advertising Photography at Gloucester and Cheltenham Collage 1983-86. I moved to London to become an assistant photographer working with the great and the good of the advertising photography world from 1986 - 90....... Then, as the Economic recession hit the UK, all my work literally, dried up…… I ran away with the circus. I spent 20 years being a cabaret- circus performer as a slack-rope walker, while all along photographing other artists for their show promotional posters and publicity. This is how I now make my living, along with commissions and editorial portraiture. For my personal work, I took some time out in early 2017 to help with charitable work. I spent two months volunteering with Serious Fun, Social Circus, Myanmar who on six days a week provide circus skills workshops for the disadvantaged children of the capital, Yangon. These groups include an Orphanage, Foster home, School for Deaf children, School for evacuated children from one of the many ongoing civil wars in Myanmar, A centre for children with learning difficulties and a Juvenile Prison.