For my first project, we were given the choice of whatever we wanted to do. I already had some ideas of what I wanted to do which was either Animals or Horror. After creating different mind maps and listing up the Pros and Cons of both categories, I then decided on which genre i wanted to work with. This being Horror. There were many reasons why picked Horror. One because of my love for horror and the another reason is because it would be easier to work with as I would be using models instead of using animals. Plus, I knew several people who would be able to help me out as models for my photography. I then researched different photographers who focus or have focused on horror photography and found some surreal and amazing work.
Horror would definitely be a genre I would want to focus on after college as I have always had an interest in horror. Whether that would be horror films or horror photography, I would still like to continue photography in one of my favourite genres. When not doing horror photography at college I could still continue produce the photography around Halloween time as most adults with good costumes would be willing to pose creepily for photographs. Although there would still be some humour in this if I was to do this, it’s still focusing around the horror genre. I’ve always liked the different categories in horror photography which range from gory to horror-comedy. I have found a range of horror photographers which focus on different categories that come under the horror theme. Those photographers are: Jason Shaltz, Joseph Hoffine, Christopher McKenney, Danielle Anathema, and Panda Jones. Each of these photographers study horror photography in-depth and all have different styles of horror photography. For example, Jason Shaltz focuses his horror work on actual horror characters and also comedy. Christopher McKenney focuses his horror work around surrealism and Danielle Anathema focuses her horror work on gore and special effects. I have always wanted to visit horror photography especially in my first year on the college course. I visited it for short while in that year but changed my mind because, at the time, I didn’t know how to approach it. My interest in horror has expanding over the years, even before I started my photography course at college. The use of special effects and how they would be used in films and shows amazed me. One example of this is from the film An American Werewolf in London released in 1981. Back when horror films were rising in demand for hungry viewers, the film industry had to step-up their game with what was featured in the films. An American Werewolf in London was an example of one of the amazing creations in the horror industry. Apart from all the fake blood and the rotting flesh makeup in certain scenes, the one amazing use of special effects is the actual werewolf transformation which, in the era the film was released, shocked and amazed viewers with what they were witnessing. Although it would be different to capture this type of thing due to me doing photography. However, this was just an example of the special effects that photographers would consider to use when capturing their horror photography. A photographer that I found that uses a lot of special effects make up for his work is that of Joshua Hoffine. His theatrical theme and special effects makeup in his work relate to old horror film classics. For this, I will be studying his work in-depth. With horror photography, you can mix certain other genres with it such as studio and comedy. I have decided that for my test shots that I would mix horror with with these two other genres to see if I can feature them with my actual shots at all. Hopefully the results will be successful. I will consider a pattern and a story in my images by hopefully bringing beloved horror characters back to the screens by putting them in the everyday world. I will complete collections and create a story with each horror character and put them in a normal life of that they are doing everyday such as housework and shopping.
Historical Horror Photography:
When people think about Historical Horror Photography, people would think of old horror movies such as Nosferatu or Psycho. However, in my opinion, I believe that Historical Horror Photography is just photos from either horrifying moments in history such as Auschwitz or places that people would consider to be horrifying such as Mental Institutions/Hospitals. Even photos from old travelling freak shows would be considered to be in the horror category as it would give people and creepy and freakish feeling. I believe historical horror photography was quite hard to research as it would show me photography from present day that had been edited to look black and white so I had to dig deeper. Thats when I started to come across photography from concentration camps and asylums which I began to consider as horror photography. Back at the time when they had been taken, they were more than likely shown for journalism reasons. However, the reason why I believe that these images are classed as historical horror photography is because, although there is no need for blood and gore or special effects makeup to create a horror image. The key to horror photography is to have a creepy and chilling feel about the image so that it is then considered horror. For my photography, however, I will not be sing historical horror themes for my work but may consider it for my test shots by finding abandoned buildings to photograph.
Contemporary Horror Photography:
Contemporary horror photography is mainly what I’ll be doing for my photography work. This is due to the fact that I wanted to use modern day horror techniques in my photography. The idea of using horror characters was considered contemporary photography due to them being shown all through present day. Although most of them are classic horror characters and are from the seventies, eighties and nineties, I still believe that they are classed under contemporary horror photography due to the fact that they are still spoke about and seen to this day. One artist that I found that uses horror characters in their photography is Jason Shaltz who puts horror characters in everyday situations. With contemporary horror photography, you begin to notice how they are characters, makeup, and special effects are all used and you hardly would ever see pictures of abandoned buildings without people classing it as landscape or architectural photography. However, I think that the modern day horror photography is more interesting and more creative, true historical horror photography really does show the horror with have in the world rather than showing it through a made up story like horror films mainly are.
GENRE CASE STUDIES:
Shaltz is a photographer from Michigan who now lives in Manhattan, New York. One of his most recognisable projects is his Everyday Horrors which feature popular horror characters in everyday situations. He states that he photographs these characters in their “non-business hours”.
I have selected my favourite images of each character below and have taken a strong liking to the ideas and situations that Shaltz has put these characters in. Shaltz has tried to capture these characters with a vast array of strong bright colours around them to try and make them look as normal as possible in the settings they are put in. By blending them into the “real world”, it makes you remember that they are just people who wander the same streets as them but have a more famous and memorable face. Apart from this, there is the humorous side to the “Everyday Horrors” photography. One particular photo from my selection that has portrayed humour well is that of Leatherface on the train. The character is sat across from just a normal person who doesn’t seem to notice him sat across from them. However, the dog notices him and seems to give him a warning look as if the dog can sense the evil, therefore reminding you that horror is there in your everyday life.
Jason Shaltz’s work is truly inspiring to me and I believe I will be mainly basing my work off of his but putting the characters in different situations to those that he has used in both of his “Everyday Horror” projects. Rather than going into cities and towns, I would focus my ideas more closer to home and having these characters doing chores. For example, some brief ideas I have come up is Freddy Kruger mowing the lawn or Billy the Puppet sat on his tricycle at the bus-stop. These are just a couple of ideas that I have if I was to mainly base my work off of Shaltz’s work. If I was to do this, I would be able to gain help from family and friends due to my stepdad having an authentic Freddy Kruger costume and a family friend has a Billy the Puppet costume. So far, these are the only two people I know to have got horror character costumes, however I have reached out to people on social media asking for them to model for me if they have a horror character costume. Also, what really makes Shaltz’s work effective is that the people walking around the areas where he is taking the images, the do not look at the characters in the situations they’re in. This is effective because it just shows how they are just normal people but have a costume on so you can recognise them. Without their costume, they are just an average person. I also think that there is a darker meaning to this but is not looked upon as the photography is more comedic than serious. However, the darker side of the work is that the killers we see in horror movies started out and where known as just an average person and when not in costume, these killers are just normal people too.
Joshua Hoffine is a photographer from Kanas who is extremely well-known for his work around horror. Apart from his horror photography, Hoffine has also released a short horror film called BLACK LULLABY and his next major project will be full-length horror movie. Below are my favourite photos my Hoffine.
I have selected these photos for one particular reason and that is because they remind of theatre performances. I think this is the case due the space and colours/lighting that is used within thee images. Also, the makeup and special effects help to give off that effect. Also the background in such small spaces have made the impression that these images are taken in a theatre and the lights and spacial awareness has been taken into consideration too. I particularly like both the Jekyll and Hyde images (the man transforming into a monster) and also the the Zombie Home Invasion.
I like the Jekyll and Hyde image (shown above), as it shows the transformation take place within a sequence and it shows the horror and fear as it happens. I really like the lighting and colours used in both the set and the special effects and makeup. The detail of the makeup really makes you see the horror that is taking place in these sequence of images. I think this is a really clever thing to do. Also, by doing a sequence of similar images, it tells a story and this is clever to do with Horror Photography.
Another image by Joshua Hoffine that I really like is the Jack the Ripper photo. Yet again, the use of lighting and set gives the image a theatrical vibe to it and so this creates a big effect for the audience. He also makes it obvious about what he is capturing by featuring little details such as the set of a dark alleyway and the clothing which people resembled to Jack the Ripper’s appearance. If I was to base my work off of Joshua Hoffine I would have to work together with the makeup department at college and also the drama and art departments for the set and design. However, I believe this would be too time consuming and would becoming a struggle as I would have to work around makeup/drama/art departments timetables and availability of the students and tutors of the courses. Although all this work would help to make the images look extremely detailed and would definitely produce a strong story within the images, I just do not have the time to be waiting hours for makeup to be done and the shooting for hours after that without going over my time limit for the project. However, if I was ever to revisit horror photography at some point in the future then I would definitely create a massive project where I would use special effects and makeup to create a horror themed story through my photography. In conclusion, I really like Hoffine’s work and really like his photography style of makeup and theatrical looking images.
Christopher McKenny is a horror surrealist photographer from Pennsylvania, USA. His photography interests me as it is all in a similar style and all gives off a creepy and mysterious effect. His setting off these images mainly natural which are mainly in forests and dirt paths which create a creepy look to his images.
I have selected these because I think these are the most creepy and reflect horror well through McKenney’s photography. He creates more of a scary atmosphere with his characters that he has in his images. By covering the bodies and face with sheets and masks, it creates an unnerving feeling with the image which the audience feels when they view these images. I really like the use of colours that he features in most of his images. By finding are dull and dark setting for most of his images he then includes something simple into the image that features colour which miraculously brightens the image up slightly.For example the image with balloons shows this and is really effective. This is because when we see or think of snow, we think that it is bleak therefore the colour from the balloons adds to the image. However, the reason why the colour doesn’t change the fact that its horror themed is because of the noose which makes the audience experience a chilling feeling when they picture someones head within the noose and what the balloons would represent. I believe that the balloons represent many things when linking them to the noose in the image. One example of this is that if someone hung themselves then the balloons could show a child-like image of going to heaven. From a child’s mind, they may not think of wings taking someone to heaven but their imagination may say that balloons might float them up to heaven. Another example is that a child may think that the rope is made into a handle and therefore they may think that you can hold onto the handle and float around the world. Overall, from these two statements I think that Christopher McKenney’s photography is made for and older audience simply because a younger audience would not understand his photography properly.
Another image from the selection I have chosen that I particularly like is the devil-horned figure. I like this image because it is simple yet certain aspects of the image make it extremely effective. One example of this from the image is the background. A barren looking road is one of the best ways to set the mood for a horror image, the same also applies for horror films. This gives the audience the feeling of isolation and fear. Then, the character in the image creates more fear in the image due to the fact that of how they are and what they are wearing. A motionless and expressionless character within any image give us a unnerving feeling to anybody but when that person is covered in sheets so you see no facial features or part of their body takes the fear level of the audience to a higher level. The character in the image is also dressed in red with devil horns on their head. These effects creates an extremely horror themed image which is effective and creates the feeling and atmosphere that the photographer wanted to capture within this image. Overall, I really like Christopher McKenney’s work and I plan to work around his work when I begin to shoot but will keep an open mind around the other photographers I have studied.
Danielle Anathema’s photography is extremely gruesome and portrays horror photography well. She takes on the more extreme and violent approach to her photography and the work and time it takes to produce her images is well worth it. Similar to Joseph Hoffine’s work, she uses more blood and gore in her special effects makeup whereas Hoffine uses special effects makeup as makeup.
Danielle Anathema’s photography is very creepy and really makes the hair on the back of your neck. She recreates our horrors and darkest thoughts into a reality and even faces. By doing this, she uses makeup and special effects which is one of the major effects to the chilling images. One of the images that I really like is the image of a pale character with blood of their spine down a corridor. The reason why I really like this image is because of how it is set. If you look at the image you believe that their legs are twisted and there arms too because of how they are positioned. However, when you look closer at the image you can see that the model is flexible and has managed to bend his legs over his arms and put his legs in front to replace the hands and the hands replace the feet. It all seems very confusing when put into words but when you look at the image closely you understand what I mean. I also like how she has set out this image. By isolating the model in a dark corridor it makes you feel the isolation that comes from the image. After looking at this image, I began to think that there was no story revolving around the image and that it was just an image that was created for the purpose of horror.
Another image that I particularly like is model on the computer. From this image I can sense a story or true meaning behind it rather than the other image where I felt like it was created just for the purpose of horror rather than having a meaning behind it. However, with this image, their is a story/meaning behind it. The model in the image seems to be decaying as parts of his flesh has rotted away. They seems to be screaming at the computer which also looks like rotting flesh. Coming from the computer are wires which seemed to be attached to the model as if they’re plugged in like a computer. The story behind this image could show the horror’s of being addicted to the internet and how the fact that the longer you are on it and get more addicted, you become hooked and this connection is shown by the wires coming from the computer to the model. This whole experience which is linked to computers could be that the model’s addiction to the internet turn into a virus just like a computer can develop a virus too. Overall, I think that Danielle Anathema’s work is truly eye-opening and visits the horror genre very well.
Panda Jones is a horror photographer from Washington, USA. She nicknames her portfolio and herself as ‘Decayed Pixels’. When I discovered the photographer, I first believed that because I didn’t discover an artist name straight away, that the photographer I was seeing, was taken from several horror photographers. I then found her website section ‘About’, where I found that that is what she nicknames her work and herself. Although not as professional as the other horror photographers I have chosen for my case studies, her work is still good and worth the recognition.
Panda Jones’s photography is quite different to the ones I have already talked about previously. She has a unique way of portraying horror photography. Is also gives of a sense of Macabre alongside horror too. She uses special effects makeup and dark settings to portray her horror photography. One image that shows this well is the image of the clown. The use of bright colour against a black background adds a creepy and chilling effect to the image and really makes you sense the horror coming from the image. I think this image would be more effective in present day rather than when it was originally shot due to the fact that clowns have become a new terror in the past two years or so. With people dressing up as clowns and wandering the streets in 2016, to the new adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘IT’ in 2017, clowns have become many peoples worst nightmare. The use of bright colours makes you want to feel happy about the image but the fact those bright colours are portrayed with a clown make you almost fear the colours in the image. Although the look of the clown is menacing enough, by placing him in a black background also makes you fear the dark of whats lurking within the dark. No matter what your fear is, this image would certainly make you afraid of whats lurking within the darkness.
Another image that really portrays the horror genre well is the image of the clown in the distance and the child holding a bunch of balloons. This image is very unnerving for me as it seems darker than it seems to be when you look at it. In the foreground you can see a young child holding a teddy and a bunch of balloons with an confused expression upon her face. At first, you think that it was just the face the child was pulling at the time so it doesn’t have no significance. Then, you see the clown in the background an immediately become concerned and scared. However, the clown seems different. He has his makeup done and the bright and big clown bottoms that you would see them wear but he has no clown top and is only wearing a white vest top. This is extremely terrifying as it makes you think that the clown is preying on the young child and has tired to lure them with balloons and maybe even a teddy. Overall, I think that Panda Jones’s work is extremely creepy but very unique as her style is very rare to see and has been adapted to her own sense of style which I praise her for.