Archive for the ‘At Work’ Category


October 21, 2015

Hi kiddies!

The monstrous fish people created by J. Anthony Kosar and his team at Kosart Effects are amazing!  I knew early on that I wanted to shoot portraits of these Deep One characters to compliment my main INNSMOUTH photograph.  Because the story by H.P. Lovecraft Shadow Over Innsmouth was written in 1931 and describes generations of Innsmouth inhabitants going back decades, I decided to shoot the portraits as genuine wet plate photographs utilizing photo technology from the 1800’s.


The Veteran


The Madame


The Bride


The Merchant

This type of wet plate photography is as esoteric as alchemy and utilizes dangerous chemicals that can choke you out or even cause an explosion.   Out of my depth technically, but still insistent upon authenticity, I recruited my friend and knowledgeable wet plate photographer Steve Wilson to come in and help.  I met Steve Wilson when I worked for him at Hallmark Cards as a young photographer. He was an early important mentor and it was joyous and nostalgic to work with him again.


We shot the portraits in my home.  Kosar and I dressed wooden mannequins in period costumes and posed them for the camera.


Steve used a powerful HMI light because wet plate has a very slow exposure time and requires a crazy amount of light.  I loved the idea that some young man from Innsmouth participated in the Civil War as a Massachusetts resident.


Here you can see Steve manning the giant 8×10 View Camera.  He was very generous in allowing me to help frame and light our portrait subjects.


After exposing a metal plate that he had prepared with a light-sensitive chemical coating, Steve would remove the plate from the camera and develop it my kitchen while we watched with amazement.


I think Steve’s artistry and the singular aesthetics of the wet plate process lend themselves beautifully to gothic subject matter, and hope for further collaborations in the future!


Interested in owning a print?  11×14 archival prints are currently for sale in my Online Store!

More Innsmouth goodies coming soon!


October 1, 2015

Hi kiddies!

This is my new photograph called INNSMOUTH.  This image is based on the story Shadow Over Innsmouth by legendary Horror author H.P. Lovecraft. This photograph stars actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) as the victim and features Special FX from frequent collaborator and Face/Off champion J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios.





In the 1931 story Shadow Over Innsmouth, the human victim is chased through the streets of the seaside town of Innsmouth by a teeming mob of monstrous fish people called the Deep Ones. The imagery of a sole individual being pursued by a city full of monsters is similar to Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I Am Legend, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in Shadow Over Innsmouth.  As with my previous zombie photograph LAST STAND, INNSMOUTH is populated by a horde of monsters, not just one!

Staging the scene in deep focus with extreme foreground elements was inspired by my love for Citizen Kane.  Giving the monsters daggers was inspired by the assassination scene in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  There are no daggers in the original story, but Lovecraft does make a point of describing the strange gold jewelry worn by the Deep Ones.  I changed the gold jewelry into golden knives, so that my swarm of monsters could fish-gut their cornered victim.

We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for this ambitious tribute to H.P. Lovecraft to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of his birth. Many talented people came together for this grand collaboration.

My cousins Steve and Jerry Hoffine and Mike Clouse from the haunted house 3rd St. Asylum in Bonner Springs, Kansas built the walls in Jerry’s carpentry shop.  They are all big men and accustomed to wearing masks for extended periods of time, so they also flew to Chicago to play the lead monsters in the photo-shoot.


Our friend Kyle Stanley helped paint the styrofoam brick walls.  Kyle is a professional artist and has a booming business making custom illustrated shoes.  He drove up to Chicago to play a monster as well. Kyle is the monster on the far right with the bowler hat and bugging eyes.




My faithful assistant Demian Vela transported me, all of my photo equipment, and the brick wall we created in a rented U-Haul trailer from Kansas City to J. Anthony Kosar’s studio in Chicago.  He also plays one of the monsters in the photo!


Kosar and his talented team spent weeks creating the crowd of Deep Ones. Kosar acted as Concept Designer, FX Supervisor, and Lead Artist, with Jamie Leodones and Stevie Calabrese leading the charge as key artists, and Dina Cimarusti, Matt Kapolczynski, and Neil Viola jumping in as additional sculptors.  Joseph Kosar, as always, helped every step of the way.



The great Celine Collins at MonkeyWrench Clothing hand-made the costume for my star Doug Jones.  I wanted him dressed as a white collar city slicker – an outsider – to contrast the blue collar mob of Innsmouth locals.  He was forced to abandon his coat and tie and hat in his hasty retreat.


Doug Jones is famous to Horror fans for his roles in HellBoy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Crimson Peak, and countless other movies. Here you can see my wife and savior Jen Hoffine adjusting Doug’s sleeve on set at Kosar’s studio.  Everyone was giddy to spend time with Doug.


Kosar created a virtual army of monsters as pull-over masks and gloves. With my encouragement, he mixed elements of piranha and the Creature from the Black Lagoon into his designs.  His collection of Deep Ones is truly amazing!



Here you can see Kosar giving Doug possibly the easiest make-up application of his illustrious career as film actor and suit performer.


In addition to Demian, Kyle, and the Cousins, several other friends suited up to play monsters, including Justin Gardner, Mark Lancaster, Coye Vega, and Dan Dudych.  Costumes and prop knives were loaned to us by Jerry Vest at my favorite prop house Have Guns Will Rent in Kansas City.


I used several strobe lights to ensure my  whole scene would be in focus at F/22, including a special battery-powered strobe inside the lantern.  Thank you to photographer Barrett McGivney for the additional equipment, tech support, and behind-the-scenes photos.




Spending time with Doug Jones is too awesome to convey in words.






Careful framing and the liberal use of fog completed the illusion of an outdoor night scene.


The brick building in the distant background of the final shot is actually 3rd St. Asylum, the haunted house run by my Cousins.  I photographed their brick building one evening at dusk and composited that detail into the background behind my original staged scene with the costumed models and fog.  If I’d had more money, I might’ve built the entire city as a set.  As it is, the illusion is seamless and I enjoy the secret nod to my Cousins.


A huge thank you to my MasterMind/Producer on this project Chad Hawks – pictured here in red on the far left – who worked harder than anybody to make this project a reality!


A special thank you to my chief collaborators on this project – the magical Doug Jones, and the brilliant Special FX artists J. Anthony Kosar, Jamie Leodones, and Stevie Calabrese!  Such fantastic work!


And lastly a tremendous heartfelt thank you to all of our Kickstarter supporters, especially our mega-backers Matthew & Dawn Cheek and family, and Alan Harris!  And a big thank you to the leaders of the H.P. Lovecraft community who helped spread the word about our project – including Aaron Vanek and James Knouse at the HPLFF in Los Angeles, Neils Hobbs at NecronomiCon in Rhode Island, Brian & Gwen Callahan at CthulhuCon and the Arkham Bazaar and HPLFF in Portland, Tom Jenkins, Mike Davis at the HPL-Ezine, Chad & Chris at the HPL Literary Podcast, and Sean Branney & Andrew Leman at the HPL Historical Society. We could never have done this without you! Hail Cthulhu!

To own a signed print of this photograph visit my Online Store.  Signed 13×19 Archival Prints are On Sale with FREE SHIPPING.

More Innsmouth goodies coming soon!

INNSMOUTH on Kickstarter!

April 15, 2015

I just launched a Kickstarter campaign for my next ambitious photo project!  This image will be based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story Shadow Over Innsmouth and stars the great Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Silver Surfer) as well as movie-worthy creature effects by FACE/OFF Champion J. Anthony Kosar!



This is my most ambitious project to date and we have thrown together an amazing array of rewards that include signed prints, unique collectibles, and original masks!  Check it out and tell all your friends!

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!



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.


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.


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


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


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.






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.







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


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!



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!



May 30, 2013

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


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


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.


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


My friend Erica has the greatest face.


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


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.



PRODUCER : Justin Gardner


FATHER : A. Michael Baldwin

MOTHER : Erica Kauffman

DAUGHTER : Sade Hoffine



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


Meagan Hester

Jeffrey Sisson

Brenna Hoch

Rita Hoch

HAIR : Jill Sixx


Jerry Hoffine

Steve Hoffine

Bill Rose

Michelle Seward

Mike Clouse


Jerry Vest

Demian Vela




DRIVER : Mike Clouse

CATERING : Mike Clouse


Anna Perry, Photography

Trevor Hawkins, Mammoth Media, Video


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!


More ambitious projects coming soon.  See you next time!


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.



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



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


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



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.



Kosar’s sculpted appliances were marvelous.




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




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.


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


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



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.




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


Demian with Kosar and Meagan, loving it.


My producer Justin Gardner.


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


Me with Brian and my daughter Sadie on set.


My brother-in-law Felix helping run camera.


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.



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’.


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:


It was fun to shoot something so uncomplicated.


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!


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