Making KEYHOLE

Hey kiddies! This is my new Horror photograph, called KEYHOLE.

What if you look through your keyhole and discover an axe murderer right on the other side of your door?

And he catches you looking?

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.

This photograph was shot on location in the home of my friends Jon and Ron McGee, who were kind enough to allow me to splash their walls with fake blood, and leave indelible pink stains on their unfinished floors.

I made an oversized keyhole for the camera to look through out of foamcore, copper paint, and sculpey.

My friend Bob Barber played the part of the axe murderer. I had most recently used Bob as the escaped lunatic in my photograph BABYSITTER. My friend Patricia Castillo, who helped me with the make-up on BABYSITTER, returned to do Bob’s make-up once again. I had her shave Bob’s head so that he would look more like a business man, or maybe a banker, gone berserk. I gave him sock garters.

My stalwart friends Matt Tady and Demian Vela returned to work as my assistants. Here you can see our keyhole rig and some of our lighting. I placed a large softbox on the floor as my main light source. I placed a small hot light in front of the softbox to add a brighter, harsher light to Bob’s face. I used two clip-on desk lamps to light the rim of the keyhole prop.

I also placed small hot lights in both of the rooms behind Bob, and used a fog machine to add a little bit of atmosphere.

Matt Tady’s girlfriend Danielle played the part of the victim’s body, a thankless job. Luckily, there was plenty of wine on hand. She stretched out on the floor and then scrunched down inside the nightgown to make room for a severed neck stump that I stuffed inside with her. I then sprayed her down with fake blood. From the camera’s position, the illusion worked.

My sister Becky played the part of the victim’s head. Creating a replica head of Becky was beyond my resources, so I started out with an inexpensive prop head with a missing eye. I placed the prop head into position on my set, dressed it with fake blood, and shot it alongside my actors.

Knowing the face on the prop head was not nearly believable enough, I then photographed Becky as well. After matching the original shot in terms of lens, distance, and lighting – I splashed her with fake blood and had her act out different faces of death. I combined the two shots in Photoshop for the final image. The bottom part of the face, the shadow on the floor, the missing eye, the neck stump – those elements are from the prop head on set. The remaining eye and bloodied face are my sister.

See you next time!


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46 Responses to “Making KEYHOLE”

  1. Rosko Says:

    your damn good

  2. shewalkssoftly Says:

    Brilliant.

  3. Doug Says:

    Bravo!

  4. DawninDenver Says:

    This is one of my favorites!

  5. Scott Says:

    John Kennedy (from Haunted Attraction magazine) showed me a print of this just last week and I fell in love. Thanks for the excellent post!

  6. Nick Says:

    Wow… this may just have become my favorite of all your work. As much as I’ve loved your photos since I read about them in Rue Morgue, this one is just so damn effective! You nailed all those things you are talking about… that sense of seeing what you shouldn’t see, and that choking anxiety of realizing you’ve been caught, truly chilling stuff. I really, really felt this one as soon as I took it in.

  7. Mr. Topp and the Big Bad Blog » Friday is good for the morning coffee Says:

    […] (Keyhole by Joshua Hoffine) […]

  8. jason Says:

    Love It!!!

  9. Dawn Says:

    Just amazing. i love your work!!!

  10. drew Says:

    sick as shit my man, as always

  11. OT Says:

    this is brilliant! I love it, seriously!

  12. Amanda Says:

    Definitely one of my new favorites that you’ve done. This picture turns my blood to slush when I see it, mainly because of Bob’s expression. The sock garters are pretty sinister too. :) You are the man!

  13. davicine Says:

    JUST-FREAKING-AMAZING!!! Beyond the blood and the shocking, I think it lies a master photographer, someone able to capture and create one of our most common nightmares into something beautiful albeit disturbing and tonight-is-gonna-be-a-shaky-night lind of art.

    With your permission I would like to post some of your work in my website (sorry it’s in spanish). I won’t til’ you said so.

    Thanks!!!

    David

  14. » Joshua Hoffine: The making of KEYHOLE Says:

    […] heck out the full detailes of Joshua’s horror photography and the making of KEYHOLE here and visit his website here […]

  15. davicine Says:

    Thank you mate. And I’d like you to know that the post created some havoc among my friends, in a good way, they were afraid to check it but everyone did so.

    Keep posting!!

  16. Jessica Says:

    I love these process posts and this particular shot is over-the-top disturbing. Any of them with that guy. Yikes. Nice. Good work, keep it up! :)

  17. Mirando a través de la cerradura a un psicopata Says:

    […] Mirando a través de la cerradura a un psicopata joshuahoffine.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/making-keyhole/  por ooalmg hace 1 segundos […]

  18. Joshua Hoffine’s Keyhole To Hell… | Cherrybombed Says:

    […] with a new, completely horrifying snapshot. But that’s okay because his latest horror-shot, Keyhole, was worth the […]

  19. Mina Says:

    Amazing. I love it.

  20. Mina Says:

    Amazing, I love it.

  21. Mina Says:

    I love it, amazing.

  22. Lauss Says:

    You are amazing guys!!! The Snapshot scared me a lot! Great job…

  23. Kratom Says:

    I dont get the point. Glorifying someone decapitating another is kinds sick. Obviously you have skill why not use it for something less freakish?

    • califwg Says:

      shut up. the whole point of the pic is to be creepy, if you dont like it then shut up and stop looking, some people are freaks( myself included) and like it.

  24. Annalucylle Says:

    I love the attention to detail and the care in preparation that goes with each of your projects… especially considering that postproducing elements and effect in pictures in order to fit higher expectations or for bugdet cutting purposes is the norm nowadays.

    Also, thank you for these last posts that feature so much backstage material and how-tos… explaining all the preparation behind makes the final photo even more interesting!

  25. Marcos Sá Says:

    Hello… I loved it.
    I am a literature professor… And I am also a writer.
    I study horror and gothic stories.
    I am writing a work abouy Stephen King.

    Where are you from?
    :D

  26. Marek Says:

    Another great work. It is just fabulous:) I really admire you for all the details appearing in the pictures. I try to also take care of the details but
    I am’re on your own when taking pictures at the matter a bit difficult for me :/
    Greetings from a Polish horror photographer :)

  27. More Horror Says:

    This is wicked! Thanks for sharing these images with us!

    Cheers,

    Seth Metoyer
    Director of Operations
    MoreHorror.com

  28. Maui Photographer Says:

    Your work is so amazing. The keyhole setup is great. Such attention to detail in the whole shoot. Awsome.

  29. C.S. Says:

    Brilliant and inspiring. You never cease to amaze me man.

  30. Doomsburg » Wordpress Check-Up #1 Says:

    […] at Joshua Hoffline, there is a really cool horror photography set. NSFW, but cool and the guy (Joshua?) is very […]

  31. Jesse Dedman Says:

    That keyhole shot provided a lot of good tips that I could use to obtain better stills for my online magazine. Thanks.

  32. bridget Says:

    Amazing! I’m a huge fan of your work and it just keeps getting better and better.

  33. fistfulofbizarro Says:

    Wow, great work!!! The keyhole thing really makes the scene 10x more terrifying.

  34. chickey Says:

    I have just very recently been introduced to your work from a friend of a friend of yours I believe. I think this is just amazing and I am soooooo excited to get the chance to peruse your blog! I love horror and the psychology of fear, so this happened to be right up my ally. This adds to the fact that I like to drive around aimlessly and take pictures, many of which tend to be abandoned homes and cemetaries. Keep up the excellent work!

  35. Beef! Says:

    Haha, hi Josh! Tamara and I were on Stumble Upon and POOF. There you are. See you Friday night, we’ll talk business!

  36. Debbi Says:

    How KOOOOl is this ! Here via David Jackson blog via Strobist….bookmarked you!
    Debbi

  37. Viveca Koh Says:

    Extremely clever, VERY convincing, awesome work – I am *seriously* impressed!

  38. justbev Says:

    joshua hoffine you are my god!!!!!!!!!

  39. Angel Says:

    I admire you, you are simply AMAZING

  40. Raymund Hensley Says:

    You sir, are an inspiration! =)
    Awesome, awesome stuff!

  41. Andreas Janke Says:

    Scary one – thank you!

  42. ryumaou Says:

    Not sure if you’re still maintaining this blog, or answering questions about it, but I hope so. I really love this shot for the keyhole and the forced perspective. What were the dimensions of the keyhole prop? How close did you set the camera to the keyhole and how close was the keyhole to the action?

    It’s a fantastic concept and it resulted in a magnificent photograph!
    Either way, thanks for sharing!

  43. stephanie Says:

    Wow, fantastic. Artistic! I wanted a tattoo on my wrist, a keyhole. I couldn’t quite figure out, what kind of keyhole… I wanted something where you can see some history in it.. i googled keyhole, pictures, and found this remarkable picture. My english could do better, i’m from denmark so sorry if i spell bad :D all i’m saying is that, thank you for inspiration and your talent, you really captured a moment. :)

  44. Krista Gassib Says:

    This rules!!!

  45. Mrs. Horror Boom (HorrorBoom.com) Says:

    Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    So, you’ll noticed I “reblogged” a post a couple days ago also from Josh Hoffine’s blog, “Making Pickman’s Masterpiece”. I was talking about some of the themes of Mr Hoffine’s work, and which ones scared me the most, and it seems I managed to overlook this one. I do recall seeing this a couple of years ago, but I think it’s one of those things your mind sort of rejects to try to protect your emotional health. I had the same reaction the first time I saw it; I just froze up. It actually is a good thing to see the breakdown of how it was made, to remind me it is JUST A FICTIONAL PHOTOGRAPH, with actors, models, special effects, and a little bit of digital manipulation. If you do a Google image search for Joshua Hoffine Keyhole and look at the image alone… you might get understand why this deconstruction of this photo is actually comforting. This still remains one of the most frightening (fictional) photographs I’ve seen in the last decade. DAMN.

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