suspense photography

Suspense Photography – Unexpected Visitors

suspense photography

Sometimes things come organically to me.  Most often it’s photography pieces.  This image, Unexpected Company, is something different.  It is the organic foundation of a new photography project.  This image begged to be hung alongside my other domestic suspense works, Jilted and Self Portrait with Corpse.  These three will now make up the set Love Hurts, and they will not be alone.  I plan on creating more images over the next few months.

My History with Suspense

Christmas 1994.  Along with the requisite Godzilla toys, I receive a collection of Suspense radio shows on audio tape.  These, along with Escape, The Shadow and Lights Out, will dominate my cassette player for months.  It’s my first introduction to noir and I’m hooked.

Not long after, these shows are supplemented by a new kind of comic book – one based on a very old series.  In the early 1990’s, Russ Cochrin began reprinting old EC titles, including their legendary horror line: Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and the Haunt of Fear.

I probably have around two dozen of these comics.  They brought imagery to the stories Suspense was whispering in my ear…horrific, lumbering terrible imagery.

It’s fascinating to note that these titles met their demise after a critical paper was published linking comic book violence to juvenile delinquency.  Strong regulations were placed on the industry, changed the landscape of the medium forever.  The effect of Wertham’s largely falsified negative view on the medium and the establishment of the CCA was the proverbial nail in the coffin for EC’s horror line.

The Legacy of Fear

Even today, EC and Suspense’s stories continue to be republished, revisited and applauded.  It’s a testament to the quality of work their creators produced.  They were able to captivate out minds and extend their stories beyond the time they were written. They touch something carnal inside us, an animal instinct that makes us glance over our shoulder as we leave the room.

While I did not turn out to be a violence – driven delinquent (much to Mr. Wertham’s chagrin), I was definitely influenced by these works.  When I look at these images, I can imagine Joseph Cotton describing them or the Cryptkeeper smiling sardonically in the background.  They are my contribution to the genre, my legacy.  And you will see more of them.

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