For over 20 years, Michelle Bates has been steeped in the local physical theater scene. She’s been photographing circus performers and their wacky brethren — street performers, jugglers and those who commit themselves to solo shows.
She was the first photographer at The Stranger. She was also one of the first photographers charged with documenting the annual Moisture Festival, the month-long comedy and variety bash that begins again March 20.
She first started photographing performers on a fluke. A friend asked her to shoot a fundraising benefit and the UMO Ensemble performed. “I was like, ‘You guys are amazing.’”
“I like working with people who are creating their own work, whether that’s a circus act or a solo show. I like doing this work. You get to meet really interesting people and you get to check out great work. It’s a great world to be in.”
A show featuring Bates’ work is now up in the gallery at Seattle’s West of Lenin.
Here are a few tidbits behind some of her images.
Kevin Joyce in “A Pale and Lovely Place” – 1996