shades of death road

(click to view full images)

These are photographs from a hilariously terrible “horror” book I made in high school. My artist statement for the project was as follows:

This project is an exploration of photography as a tool for fiction. I was inspired to make a found footage style narrative by a few horror films of that genre, but mainly by the first-person, do-it-yourself quality of the images and videos posted to online paranormal forums and ghosthunting blogs. I’ve obsessively followed these types of websites for years, and in my mind their content has come to represent an aesthetic— off-kilter accidental images, graininess and overcast skies, the secrecy of local lore and haunted spots, a subtle but omnipresent sense of wrongness and suppressed terror.

Capturing this idea meant growing out of the observational role I have taken with my work thus far to play a character in my own photographs, stage scenes and direct my subjects, and cook up a couple of ghosts.

Because I was fabricating the majority of my content, the major challenge was balancing this project between two extremes. I wanted to lend it some humor, even campiness, without making it silly. I wanted an ambiguous phantom that called to mind the classic trope of the sheet ghost, without making it look clumsy (or obvious that I did, in fact, have my kid brother under a sheet). I wanted the photos and the writing to feel homemade, inexpert, without making them poor quality.

My natural inclination to agonize over details meant that shooting and re-shooting, printing and re-printing, figuring out every tiny tweak was gratifying and fun. This project helped me grow as a photographer, taught me to hone every aspect of making a photograph— shooting, printing, a little post-production— for images that best convey my intentions.

Contact me for a PDF copy of the book!