Taming the Beast: Vintage Lion Tamer Photos


While circus acts involving animals have become controversial in recent times, there was once a time when these were usual segments of a troupe’s performance. Among the most popular of these were lion taming acts, where a trainer gets the so-called king of the jungle to do breathtaking and often dangerous tricks.

Then 17-year-old lady lion trainer Pat English training a lion to behave inside a cage. Photo via LIFE Images Hosted by Google.

The mighty lion is not hailed as the king of the jungle for no reason. Its muscular body, paired with a set of deadly sharp teeth, is a beast not to be taken lightly. Even so, man has sought to tame the beast, bringing these royalties of the wild to the city and into the caged world of circus acts.

We found several interesting photographs of lion tamers at work during the 1940s, training beautiful and extremely powerful lions and other big cats. These animals, instinctively carnivorous, can quickly and easily grab and snap the bones of their trainers, making it an extremely dangerous occupation for lion tamers. Even so, these trainers, both men and women, young and old, still dared to pose with the beautiful beasts, and command them to perform all sorts of circus tricks. Let’s take a look at some of them below:

Photos via LIFE, LIFE Images Hosted by Google, Photography News, and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on Flickr

In the recent times, the “taming” of lions and other wild animals were met with controversy due to allegations of cruelty. Good thing modern circus troupes have settled for performances that limit, if not completely abandon, the involvement of these wild animals. Animal rights advocates now encourage people to view and appreciate lions and other wild creatures either by visiting zoos or going on a safari trip to observe them in their natural habitat.

Speaking of safari, Lomography came up with an exciting Lomography Safari Hunt, where you are challenged to find the voucher codes hidden all over the wildnerness of the Lomography website! Read more about the Lomography Safari Hunt here!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2012-01-25 #lifestyle #vintage #lomography #1940s #vintage-photos #lions #analogue-lifestyle #lomography-safari-hunt #lion-tamer #lion-trainer


  1. liquorice
    liquorice ·


  2. jorgdhondt
    jorgdhondt ·


  3. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·


  4. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Braver than I!

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