Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best. I once attended a crazy event hosted by Andrew Miller of Circus North and the infamous Benjamin Von Wong, who invited people, and I quote, “to come and play with his gear.” Who can refuse such a flirty invitation from Ben!?

When I arrived on the scene—an old warehouse converted into multiple photo studios—I was greeted by crazy wicked body painted models getting prepped for a shoot. A few select photographers who made their way to the studio were shooting with medium-format cameras, and got some great exposure to the art of circus performance.

Fast forward almost a year, and this past weekend, on May 23, 500px hosted a photoshoot/photowalk with Circus North in the historic Distillery District in downtown Toronto.

It was like walking into a completely new era. Looking at the costumes and body-painted performers, you are immediately transported into a wicked fantasy world.

As a part of this amazing deal, forty 500px photographers were given exclusive pre-show access to 6 amazingly talented performers—actresses and acrobats, body-painted and transformed from every-day people into timeless creatures of fantasy and showmanship.

What else does a photographer need to get creative the juices flowing? Ah yes, a smoke machine! So we got one of those too, to make fantasy even more fantastic.

Within 2 hours, the walls of the temporary home for Circus North were transformed into a creative playground, and seeing dozens of photographers awestruck by the elaborate make up work is an amazing feeling!

Keep in mind that we are not done yet, but merely getting started! This show puts into motion the whole series of summer events that are about to hit Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle, and more. So go like our Facebook page to stay in touch with all the goodness we have planned for you this summer.

This event wouldn’t have been possible without some kick-ass organizers. Circus North itself is a week-long festival organized by Andrew Miller and Cirque-It, and produced by Noble Sky at the Distillery District.

And, of course, a big thank you is owed to the very talented people behind the paint: make-up artists Jocelyn Santos Thompson, Lorie Hamel, Natasha Kudashkina, and Michael Mejia; and models Polina Belomlinskaya, Sofí Gudiño, Fairland Ferguson, Zel Tyrant, and Esther de Monte Flores made this event what it was.