Backstage at the circus
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Kirsten Luce's Image

At the Saint Petersburg State Circus, bear trainer Grant Ibragimov performs his daily act with three Siberian brown bears.

The animals rehearse and then perform under the lights each evening. In order to train a bear to walk on two feet, Kirsten was told that they are chained by the neck to the wall when they are young to strengthen their leg muscles. Russia and Eastern Europe have a long history of training bears to dance or perform, and hundreds of bears continue to do so as part of the circus industry in this part of the world.

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    Behind the lens

    Kirsten Luce


    Image details

    • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
    • 24–70 f2.8 lens at 50mm
    • 1/125 second at f3.2
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