Clownville, a photo series featuring grotesque portraits of terrifying clowns, is the photographic nightmare of French-born photographer Eolo Perfido. Perfido says he was inspired by silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, who were forced to exaggerate their emotions because they were unable to speak.
Modern clowns first appeared in the late 18th century and were associated with circuses and comedy. The word itself comes from a Scandinavian linguistic root meaning “clumsy, boorish fellow.” This is why Perfido’s photography is so shocking—he’s transformed something funny and joyful into a vulgar terror.
Eolo Perfido now lives in Italy. His work has been featured in magazines such as NY Times, Communication Arts, Panorama First, Vision, Vogue Russia, GQ Russia, L’Espresso and Computer Arts. Valeria Orlando did the makeup for Clownville.