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!