Horror Photography: Life’s Moments, One Trauma at a Time


Joshua Hoffine is a photographer with a taste for the dark side: He does “horror photography,” and he does it very well.

An escaped psycho killer about to butcher a babysitter and her young charge. Lady Bathory bathing in a stream of blood gushing from the throat of a freshly butchered victim. A giant snake about to swallow a screaming baby whole. All of that and more are just part of a day’s work for Hoffine, a photographer who specializes in the creepy and bizarre.

In reality, capturing those most horrific of life’s moments on film is only a small part of his job. As he shows on his blog, a significant portion of his time (and that of his many volunteers) is spent setting the stage: Building props or entire sets, applying complex makeup, lugging equipment deep into forests and more. But the end result, I think you’ll agree, is worth it.

It’s also interesting to note that for a guy who puts so much effort into taking photos of people eating their own arms or having their faces carved off, Hoffine himself sounds remarkably well-adjusted. For the photo “Babysitter,” which featured his 13-year-old daughter and infant niece, he wrote, “The concept of the escaped lunatic appears in at least three of my favorite Horror films: Black Xmas, Halloween and When a Stranger Calls. There is something very vulnerable about the teenage babysitter – no longer a child, but not yet an adult – attempting to shoulder grown-up responsibilities. Ultimately though, this photograph focuses on just one thing – what if something awful was waiting for you right around the corner?”

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