The Juggalos really go to town and back with their look, which is along the disturbing lines of “bollocksed-up rapey clown rapper”. Every year a vast army of the blighters descend on a private camp ground on the Illinois border for this gnarly rap-themed festival of Mad Max shit, headlined by their favourite band, horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse. As one of the more shocking subcultures allowed to openly do this sort of stuff in the US, the Juggalos make a dreamy subject for portraiture, and Daniel Cronin’s The Gathering of the Juggalos is a dreamy collection of photos of them in their element. Far from sensationalising the notoriously druggy psycho-porno antics of its subjects, this book is a quiet and surprisingly tender look directly into the eyes of a worrying and beautiful shitload of American outsiders.
Dazed Digital: What was your prior connection to the festival before shooting the book?
Daniel Cronin: The photos were actually shot over three consecutive Gatherings between 2010-2012. Before heading out to the festival I had shot a few portraits of Juggalos in Portland, Oregon before an ICP show.
DD: What was the most appealing aspect of shooting there?
Daniel Cronin: I think the most appealing thing is the sense of community out at the gathering. everyone is really excited to be there so there really is an energy in the air, especially on the first day of the festival. Its hard not to get caught up in it.
DD: What was your most unexpected/memorable moment from the weekend?
Daniel Cronin: I think my favourite thing was actually getting to meet and photograph Jay and Shaggy from ICP. They were really nice and I showed them some of the photos I had taken over the last 2 years and they thought they were really gorgeous and liked what I was doing.
DD: Did any of your preconceptions of the festival change once you were there?
Daniel Cronin: The first year I went out there I really didnt know what to expect of how I was going to shoot it. After the first day of walking around and not shooting a lot I realised that there were a lot of smaller/quieter moments going on that I had never seen in photos of Juggalos so I decided to focus on those aspects the Gathering since I had already seen so many photos of Juggalos being wild and partying.
Introduction by Stuart Hammond; taken from the April issue of Dazed & Confused
Launching at Goodhood in London, The Gathering of the Juggalos is published by Prestel - out now