Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Haunting Images

I just stumbled upon famed horror photographer Joshua Hoffine. He creates images based on our fears.

My images are not photoshop collages. I use photoshop to finesse details and to adjust color and contrast for printing. I use friends and family members as actors and crew. Everyone works for free. We do it for fun.

This is my new photograph called ROBOT. This time the theme is addiction and dependence, especially as it pertains to technology.

This project began as a commission. An Electro Synth Rock band from Ontario Canada called Raggedy Angry sent me an email asking if I would be interested in creating cover artwork for their new album entitled HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS. I told them they had me at the word 'Robot'!

Go Here to see the setup for the photoshoot.

This is my Horror photograph, called KEYHOLE.
What if you look through your keyhole and discover an axe murderer right on the other side of your door?

For me, this image is about the mechanics of Horror. I wanted to create an image that would cast you – the viewer – as a character in the scene. I centered on the idea of having the camera look through a keyhole, believing that this device would establish an implicit P.O.V. perspective for the viewer. This image is about voyeurism, about seeing something that you shouldn’t, and worse – being caught in the act. In this image you – the viewer – are the incumbent victim.

Go Here to see the setup for the photoshoot.

My Horror photograph, called BABYSITTER.

The concept of the escaped lunatic appears in at least three of my favorite Horror films: BLACK XMAS, HALLOWEEN, and WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. There is something very vulnerable about the teenage babysitter – no longer a child, but not yet an adult – attempting to shoulder grown-up responsibilities.

Ultimately though, this photograph focuses on just one thing – what if something awful was waiting for you right around the corner?

Go Here to see the setup for the photoshoot.

My photograph, called LADY BATHORY.

Lady Elizabeth Bathory was an actual person. She was a Hungarian countess in the 16th century, and one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Apocryphally, she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth and beauty.

The story of Lady Bathory serves as a cautionary tale on the dangers of vanity, and comments on the current preoccupation with youth and beauty in our contemporary society – from the mainstreaming of plastic surgery and botox injections, to body waxing and even piercing and tattoos.

I wanted to create a contemporary version of the Lady Bathory legend. In my photograph, the bloodletting is depicted as a kind of spa treatment, with Lady Bathory wearing a green mud mask and cucumbers on her eyes.

Go Here to see the setup for the photoshoot.

I am interested in creating photographs that employ archetypal imagery to act out universal fears. These are the subjects I look for. The more common or cliched the fear, the more I want to make an image of it. We can all relate to the idea of a monster hiding under the bed, but we’ve never seen a photograph of it before. Through photography, I want to explore archetypes that we are already familiar with. I want to drag our psychological monsters out into the light of day and take pictures of them.

We can all remember being children, when our fears were still very primal. My photographs remind adults of things they used to be frightened of, but have forgotten about. Recover the memory, and you recover the fear.

I try to style my sets so that they reflect a sense of innocence and nostalgia. Many of the elements in my sets, such as wallpaper patterns and furniture, come from the 1940′s and 1950′s, which for the U.S. represents a period of relative innocence. It helps me to create a familiar psychological backdrop for the primal drama unfolding.

No comments: