01 March 2023

Wanderlust by Sam Barker

This series explores Sam Barker’s friend Barney Maurice up at his camp in Cumbria with his horses and wagons.

Barney ran away to the circus aged 16 and has lived off grid ever since. His insatiable appetite for this life and his love for horses and nature inspired Sam to create this series of captivating photographs. Barney calls it his “Wanderlust” which seems a perfect way to sum it up.

Sam shared the following description of Barney’s first interaction with the circus that he was about to go on to learn a new way of life with…

“I’d just turned 17 when the circus came to town. I remember their ad in the job centre was in permanent red marker pen on a big sheet of card pinned to the wall, while all the other jobs were on small printed cards in rows (pre computers). “Circus Box Office assistant required” and a phone number. I took it to the desk and they phoned the number. The only questions the manager asked was what’s his name and when can he start.


I met them in a field dressed in my granddads ill-fitting woollen three piece suit. Craig, the circus manager and Charles Mwandobo, head of the “Black Scorpions” a Tanzanian acrobatic troupe. They gave me a cash box with a 50 quid float, a key to the truck that served as advance box office, showed me how to make out a ticket then a lift back into town in the back of a pickup truck, and told me they’d be back in a week with the circus. I was to sell advanced tickets. I remember the excitement of realising that my world had found me! And repeating to myself over and over, “I’ve got a job on the circus!” And a tingling sensation..”