Archive for the ‘At Work’ Category

New Commercial Website

September 3, 2014

Hi kiddies!

I have launched a 2nd website to showcase my work as a freelance photographer-for-hire.  Many people are unaware that beyond my work as an artist, I am also an active commercial photographer – shooting various projects for personal clients, book publishers, record labels, and ad agencies.  My clients have been as diverse as rapper TechN9ne, Sony, Living Dead Dolls, and Busch Gardens.  No project is too big or too small.  Not only do I have a unique vision for each one of my photographs, but  I am also fun and very flexible to work with.  If you have a project in mind, please check out my new website and give me a shout!

Laura

Making MONSTER PROM

May 12, 2014

Hi kiddies!  This is my new project MONSTER PROM.

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This project was a commission from Sony UK utilizing their new full-frame Sony A7 camera.  I re-imagined iconic monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolfman as teenagers posing for their Prom photos.

Virtually all Americans are familiar with the classic Prom photo.  We’ve all seen them, and most of us have even posed for them.  I love Prom photos.  Nothing captures the quintessential awkwardness of adolescence like the Prom photo.  It is the final game of dress-up before entering the adult world.

Monsters are the perennial outsider.  Did any of us ever feel more like monsters than we did as teenagers?  Bodies changing beyond our control, sprouting hair, developing acne, braces, bad haircuts.  The self-consciousness of adolescence comes with the realization that the villagers could turn on you at any moment.

There is a long-standing tradition of teenage monsters in the Horror genre, starting with I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, both from 1957.  Modern variations on the teenage monster movie include Carrie, Teen Wolf, The Craft, even Twilight.  Wes Craven’s Scream could easily have been titled I Was A Teenage Slasher.

A lot of wonderful people helped me with my teenage monster project.

My eldest daughter Arinna (from my photograph BABYSITTER) played the part of Frankenstein’s girlfriend.  She also did a wonderful job helping me cast my project, and recruited several of her friends to be models.

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All of the girls’ hairstyles were done by my friend Nikki Moreno.  Nikki specializes in retro Pin-Up portraits with her company Vixen Pin-Up Photography.  Not only did she do everybody’s hair, but Nikki was also a crucial photography assistant.  She provided set elements, like the silver tinsel backdrop, as well as lighting equipment.  I could not have done this shoot without her.

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Candy Cunningham – Nikki’s partner in Vixen Pin-Up Photography – did wonderful make-up for all the girls.

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Rod Zirkle, a graduate of Tom Savini’s school of make-up, did a great job airbrushing monster hands for the boys.

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I staged the photo-shoot in my own home.  Here you can see Rod airbrushing Frankenstein’s hands in the middle of my living room, surrounded by teenagers.

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The real star of this project is my friend J. Anthony Kosar, and his special-effects team at Kosart Effects – Neil Viola, Scott Mitchell, Stevie Calabrese, and Matt Kapolczynski.  This was my 3rd collaboration with Anthony.  He also created the make-up effects for my zombie photo LAST STAND and my upcoming film BLACK LULLABY.

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I met Kosar in a parking lot in St. Louis, roughly half way between Kansas City and Chicago to collect his fragile monster sculptures.

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You might ask, “Why make sculptures?  Why not use make-up appliances on the models?”  This was so that Kosar would not be limited to the proportions and facial structure of a real person.  This way the eyes could be set further apart than a real person’s face would allow, a neck could be thinner than a real person’s neck, a mouth shape could be extended beyond the physical limits of make-up.  I encouraged him to create stylized character designs, knowing that they would be fleshed out with amazing realistic detail for my camera.

I photographed the kids in full costume on my set, complete with hand make-up.  Kosar even provided fake feet for teenage Wolfman, played by Wyatt Zirkle, Rod’s 12 year old son.  His plaid suit was made by my friend Celine Collins (the victim in my JACK THE RIPPER project) at her store MonkeyWrench Clothing in downtown KC.  Wolfman’s date was played by Fee Pauwels.

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I photographed Kosar’s sculptures on the same set, under the same lighting, to ensure that both parts would fit together seamlessly when combined in Photoshop.

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My daughter Arinna and her friend Andrew Gleason, who played the part of Frankenstein.

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Dracula was played by my 12 year old nephew Nate.  His date was played by Mary Burke.

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A special thank you to my sister Sarah who made all of the flower corsages.  And a big thank you to Kevin Kinkead at Boomerang in Westport, KC’s best vintage clothing store, for giving me such a great deal on all of the retro clothes!  And lastly, thank you to Margaret of London for inviting me to be part of this project.

See you next time!

 

Oddities

November 14, 2013

Yes, that was me on the television show Oddities.  My wife Jen and I stopped by the store Obscura Antiques while we were in NYC – we love the show! – and ended up on-camera for Episode 16 of Season 4 – ‘No Guts, No Glory’ – which aired on the Discovery Channel just before Halloween on October 29th!

Oddities

LAST STAND

May 30, 2013

Hey kiddies!  Here is my new zombie photograph LAST STAND.

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It remains true to the simple sketch from my KickStarter video, but now brought to life with actors and detail.

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My star A. Michael Baldwin gave a wonderful performance!  The gunshot to the head was achieved using flash paper and black powder fired through a prop head sculpted by Ryan Pintar.  I then combined these elements with the kneeling zombie actor and Baldwin firing the gun on set using Photoshop.

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For reasons of safety, I photographed my little niece Rev separately as well.

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My friend Erica has the greatest face.

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My youngest daughter Sadie gave me an identical scream to match Erica’s.

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This photograph was by far my largest project to date, and only came to life with the help and assistance of many wonderful people.  A special thank you to all of the KickStarter Pledge supporters who made this image possible!  The success of this image has encouraged me to consider future photo projects on an even larger, more elaborate scale.

THE CREDITS :

ART DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER : Joshua Hoffine

PRODUCER : Justin Gardner

CAST :

FATHER : A. Michael Baldwin

MOTHER : Erica Kauffman

DAUGHTER : Sade Hoffine

POOR LITTLE TODDLER : Rev Mercader

THE ZOMBIES :

Bob Barber

Colin Mogg

Sonny Williams

Jen Hoffine

Brian Wendling

Davis DeRock

Henry Feltmeyer

Alice Pollack

Nathan Beggs

Dylan Thomas

Brett Johnson

Austin Goldberg

MAKE-UP EFFECTS : J. Anthony Kosar

MAKE-UP ASSISTANTS :

Meagan Hester

Jeffrey Sisson

Brenna Hoch

Rita Hoch

HAIR : Jill Sixx

SET CONSTRUCTION :

Jerry Hoffine

Steve Hoffine

Bill Rose

Michelle Seward

Mike Clouse

PYROTECHNICS :

Jerry Vest

Demian Vela

GUNSHOT WOUND : Ryan Pintar

LOCATION MANAGER : Steve Hoffine

CAMERA ASSISTANT : Felix Mercader

DRIVER : Mike Clouse

CATERING : Mike Clouse

DOCUMENTATION :

Anna Perry, Photography

Trevor Hawkins, Mammoth Media, Video

PHOTOGRAPHED AT 3RD ST. ASYLUM IN BONNER SPRINGS, KANSAS

A 40″ print of LAST STAND is currently on view and for sale at the LAST RITES GALLERY in NYC, as part of the ‘Zombie’ group art show curated by Travis Louie.  Thank you again to Travis for inviting me to be part of this show!

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More ambitious projects coming soon.  See you next time!

Making LAST STAND

March 14, 2013

Hi kiddies!  While I am saving the debut of my big zombie photograph LAST STAND until the Last Rites Gallery opening in NYC on Memorial Day Weekend, here are some fun making-of pics from last week’s photo-shoot.

We built our set at the 3rd St. Asylum Haunted House in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  My cousins Jerry and Steve Hoffine did all of the carpentry and construction.

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Bill Rose and his girlfriend Michelle stayed up late one night to wallpaper my set for me.

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Here you can see Steve and Bill measuring the shag carpet.

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I filled the set with my gathered props.  Jerry Hoffine and Mike Clouse destroyed the door by jumping on it.

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Here you can see me talking with J. Anthony Kosar, who drove in from Chicago to lead the make-up team.  Beside me is my regular assistant Demian Vela, and behind us is Colin, one of my drafted zombie models.

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Kosar’s sculpted appliances were marvelous.

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Meagan Hester from FACE/OFF Season 4 flew in from NYC to help Kosar with the make-up effects.

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Kansas City make-up artist Jeff Sisson also came down to help.  Here you can see him working on my regular assistant Demian Vela, who was excited to finally be on the other side of the camera.

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My lovely bride Jen Hoffine, who played the title role in LADY BATHORY, also played a zombie.

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My favorite model Bob Barber is feeling better and came in to be a zombie as well.

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Brian Wendling, the man walking the tightrope in my early photograph DEATH, played one of the zombies attacking my daughter Sadie.  Here you can really see how good Kosar is with his make-up.

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Brenna and her mom Rita work for 3rd St. Asylum and also helped with the make-up.

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Demian with Kosar and Meagan, loving it.

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My producer Justin Gardner.

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My star A. Michael Baldwin on set, having fun.

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Me with Brian and my daughter Sadie on set.

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My brother-in-law Felix helping run camera.

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My friend Erica Kauffman played the Mother character.  Here you can see Davis biting her arm as she reaches for her pistol.  And yes, that is a dinosaur.

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A special thank you to  Mehron Make-up, who generously provided make-up and blood for our art project.

LAST STAND coming soon!

Photos courtesy of Anna Perry.

Corpse Bride

December 13, 2012

Hey kiddies.  I shot this for fun the other day.  My children have dubbed it ‘The Corpse Bride’.

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I rented the corpse from BJ Winslow and dressed it up in a wedding dress that I found at a thrift-store.  I aged the dress and veil with Lipton tea. I rented the coffin from my friend Jerry at Have Guns Will Rent.  I borrowed the ring from my sister. I photographed my Corpse Bride in the garage, with black fabric as a backdrop, a single soft-box as the light source, and white foam-core to bounce light into my shadow areas. Here you can see me getting things set up:

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It was fun to shoot something so uncomplicated.

Making JACK THE RIPPER

September 4, 2012

Hey kiddies!  This is the first part of my new project JACK THE RIPPER.

Conceived as a 2-panel diptych, JACK THE RIPPER depicts the moments “just before” and “just after” a grisly alleyway murder.  What makes Jack the Ripper so compelling to me is that nothing is known about him.  Because he was never caught, we have no actual information about who he was or why he committed his gruesome crimes.  What we have is not a historical or biographical portrait, but a communally imagined idea of Jack the Ripper as an aristocratic predator.  As a boogeyman, he graphically symbolizes the idea of the wealthy and powerful preying on the poor.

Unable to find an appropriate alleyway in Kansas City, I decided to build a set.  The walls were made from large sheets of styrofoam that we carved and sculpted to look like brick using a hot-knife and heat gun.

My cousins Steve Hoffine and his brother Jerry Hoffine help run a Haunted House called 3rd Street Asylum in Bonner Springs, a small town just outside of Kansas City.  They were kind enough to allow me to build my set inside an unused hallway in their Haunted House.

The part of Jack the Ripper was played by my friend Chad Hawks.  With his heavy brow and swarthy good looks, I thought he would be the perfect model.  And despite what he looks like in my photograph, Chad is one of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet.  He grew out his own muttonchops for the role, and flew himself in from Chicago to help me with my project.

The part of Jack’s victim was played by Celine Collins.  Celine is, in many ways, the real hero of this project.  She owns Monkey Wrench Clothing, and I originally drafted her to help make the elaborate costumes that I needed. She was already doing all of this costume work for free when I asked her if she would be willing to play the part of the victim as well.  Despite her shyness, Celine agreed, and gave me an absolutely marvelous performance.   Monkey Wrench Clothing specializes in corsets and steam-punk attire and shares storefront space with Retro Vixen on 39th Street in Kansas City.  You should definitely check her out.

Celine’s wig was styled by Ruby Von Blush.  Her make-up, for good or ill, was done by me.

My regular assistant Demian Vela was back to help me with this photo-shoot, as was my beautiful and talented wife Jen Hoffine.  She helped Celine add wire to Jack’s coat so that it would hold it’s position without the use of a windmachine.

Steve and Jerry Hoffine, as well as their friend Mike Clouse, came down on the night of the shoot to help run fog machines and spray atmospheric mist over my set.  The rats were plastic toys that I repainted.  I added whiskers made out of fishing line.  And lastly, the all-important top hat was loaned to us by my super-talented friend Damian Blake, who had previously played the part of Thurber the patron in last year’s project PICKMAN’S MASTERPIECE.

On October 1st I will release the second half of my project: JACK THE RIPPER 2.  It is by far the goriest image I have ever made.  I hope you can check it out!

See you next time!

Making PERSEPHONE

February 29, 2012

Hey kiddies!  This is my new project called PERSEPHONE, named after a figure from Greek mythology.  Persephone was a nature goddess who became Queen of the Underworld after being abducted by Hades.  The myth of her abduction represents her role as the personification of vegetation – which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth in autumn.  When she is in the Underworld we experience winter.  And when she visits the world she brings with her spring, flowers, and the resurrection of life.  As both a Goddess of Spring, and the Queen of the Underworld – she exemplifies the tension between life and death.

My lovely bride Jen (Lady Bathory) returned as my assistant for this project, as well as my faithful friend Demian Vela.  We also worked with some new collaborators.  Rebekah Whitt played the part of Persephone, and her make-up was done by Shawn Shelton with Bandersnatch Studios.

The walls and archway of the set were made from plastic VacuForm panels that we painted to look like stone.  We built the set inside a factory near Robert Kurtzman’s studio in Ohio.  Kurtzman is a legendary make-up FX artist and the founder of KNB EFX.  He also wrote the original story for the movie FROM DUSK TIL DAWN and was the director of WISHMASTER.  Kurtzman introduced us to David Greathouse (House) – who created all of the foam latex vines that we wired and glued to the walls of the set.

Kurtzman also introduced us to Beki Ingram, who turned out to be the real hero of the project.  Jen, Demian and I were all enormously impressed as she spearheaded the enormous task of dressing the set walls with fake foliage and roses, which were meticulously glued to the walls, one flower at a time.

Beki has recently become a TV celebrity.  She is one of the leading contestants on the hit reality show FACE/OFF, which features up-and-coming special-effects make-up artists in a winner-takes-all competition.  The program airs on Wednesday nights on the SyFy Channel, and each week we are glued to our TV sets rooting for our friend.

Demian took a week off of work and drove 800 miles to Ohio to help with this project.  I think he was excited by the prospect of hanging out with Robert Kurtzman.

Me with our half-finished set walls.

We needed more space for our lights so we moved to another part of the factory to finish our set dressing.  Here you can see Beki, Demian, and Jen slowly dressing the set walls with green foliage.

We stole grass and sod from Kurtzman’s backyard and hauled it to the factory in the back of my mini-van.  I inserted fake arms (minus the hands) into the set floor.   I would have used the hands as well but they looked so fake that I cut them off.  We hung giant sheets of black velvet behind the set.  Black velvet and a fog machine are all we had to hide the fact that our set was built inside a factory.

Here is a lighting test with fog.

Two interns from Kurtzman’s studio came by to help on the day of the shoot.  Beki painted their hands and arms to match the prop arms on set.  I shot their hands separately and used Photoshop to graft them onto the fake arms that I photographed on set.  The out-of-focus hands in the foreground of the final image were photographed live in front of the camera, with the interns kneeling beneath the lens of my camera like puppeteers.

See you next time!

Making PICKMAN’S MASTERPIECE

April 1, 2011

Hey kiddies!  This is a recent project I photographed for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine called PICKMAN’S MASTERPIECE.

This sequence of images is based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft called PICKMAN’S MODEL.  This story was originally published in 1927 in Weird Tales.  I was attracted to this project because of the character of Pickman – who in Lovecraft’s mythology is a brilliant but marginalized artist notorious for his horrifying artwork.  Due to the graphic and disturbing nature of his work,  he is shunned by his fellow artists.

All of this struck me as eerily familiar.

With limited time and budget, I chose to focus on the moment in the story when Pickman brings Thurber, the narrator, into his underground studio to show him his Masterpiece – his greatest and worst work – the one that can never be shown in public.

Instead of creating one heroic image, I wanted to create a sequence of images as if they were shots from a scene in an old Hammer movie.

The character of Thurber was played by Damian Blake, a talented performer and professional Charlie Chaplin impersonator.  He was able to provide his own vintage wardrobe and grew a handlebar moustache just for this project.  Here you can see Damian standing in for a lighting test while still wearing his coat.  The basement location was very cold.

The character of Pickman was played by my friend and regular actor Bob Barber.

My friend and regular assistant Demien Vela, as well as my lovely bride Jen Cogar (who played the lead in LADY BATHORY) acted as crew.  Here you can see Demien running the fog machine and moving the sheet into position using fishing line.

Pickman’s artwork was provided by fellow Horror Photographer Chad Michael Ward.  To see more examples of his work (which ranges from Horror to Erotica) check out his website at DigitalApocalypse.com

Thank you to Phil Kim at Famous Monsters for inviting me to shoot this project.  See you next time!

Making ROBOT

October 28, 2010

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




I began this project by acquiring the materials necessary to build a life-size Robot. I consulted with a local Steam Punk artist named Cliff Robinson, who helped oversee construction. Cliff taught me how to paint plastic objects so that they looked like metal. The body of the Robot was made from a baby bicycle seat and a diaper genie I found at a thrift store.



I spent weeks rummaging through thrift stores and flea markets looking for potential body parts. I used pieces from Tonka trucks and golf carts, grape juice bottles, tripods, plastic plumbing elements, flashlights, toy lightsabers, and knitting needles. Rivets were made by spray painting ‘googly eyes’ and then glueing them onto the body.


The head was made from an air humidifier, radio antennaes, and different Star Wars ships pieced together. We placed a small LED flashlight inside the eye so that it would glow. It was important to me that my Robot have one red glowing eye like HAL in 2001.



I recruited my friend and frequent model Bob Barber to play the part of the Robot’s willing victim. Bob has played the villain in several of my photographs, including DEVIL, BABYSITTER, and most recently KEYHOLE. But this is the first time he’s been cast to play the victim in one of my images.

We glued latex appliances onto Bob’s arms to create the oversized junky track marks.



I used eye shadow to accentuate Bob’s gaunt features and bulging veins. I used black clown make-up on his shirt so that we would appear to be covered in engine oil.



We attached metal rods to the Robot’s arms so that my assistants Matt Tady and Demian Vela could puppet them into position.


We used Fullers Earth to create the atmosphere of steam. Demian and I made a rig with an air compressor to blast it into the air. The grit and texture of the Fullers Earth looked more like steam than the smooth fog I usually use.


After placing Bob into position, my only directions to him were to look as if he were in a state of religious ecstasy. I removed the puppet rods using Photoshop.


I also used Photoshop to replace the yellow plastic syringes with actual glass containers of fluid – in this case Barq’s rootbeer. I did this separately so that I would be able to backlight the fluid and highlight the air bubbles inside.

After photographing Bob with the main Robot body, we photographed the Robot legs. Here you can see Demian positioning a leg with heavy guage fishing line. The leg was made from a weedeater, a Star Wars lightsaber, part of a tripod, an old fishtank purifier, and bicycle sprockets. By this point I had run out of money, so I made only one leg and photographed it in four different positions, adjusting the lights as we went along. I added the legs to the original photograph in Photoshop, completing the insect-like Robot design I was aiming for.


See you next time!


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