By Mandy McGee
I wanted to show off some photographers that I have been admiring for a while and some I have just discovered. I hope you will like them too.
Ever since I watched the documentary ”The Woodman’s”, Francesca Woodman’s work has made my creative wheel start turning again. I used to do a lot of self portraits in a somewhat similar style and I have begun doing those again. Without noticing some of her work has influenced a few of my recent photoshoots with other models. Her life and death is a mystery and has left beautifully haunted photos behind. She had a very short life but has made an impact in the art world years after.
Check out more of her work. She is all over the internet if you just type in her name. Some of my favourites are on this site.
I have been watching Danielle Tunsall’s work for a while and I like pretty much everything that her brain and camera produces. She is a horror photographer and Graphic Designer from the UK. Here is one of her newest photos which is so creepy but amazing!
Danielle on Facebook
Speaking of creepy and horror filled images, I recently discovered the work of Karen Jerzyk via Warren Ellis. She has a series of images up on her tumblr of various models at an abandoned asylum. Each is incredibly beautiful and some are downright creepy. She uses wide angle lenses to play with distortion (which is what I like to do) and it gives the images an added creepy feel just from that. The texture from all the decay in the location plays very nicely especially in the photos of the nude models.
Jyoti Sackett, a photographer from near my home town in Virginia, continues to amaze me with her images. They are so incredibly breath taking and ethereal. I hope one day I can model for her. Her photos pop up on Vogue Photo often. Watch out for her amazing work there and on facebook.
By Mandy McGee
Lloyd Kaufman (along with Michael Herz) created the Troma Entertainment film studio. Troma is responsible for movies such as “The Toxic Avenger”, “Class of Nuke ‘Em High" and "Tromeo and Juliet”. He is a producer, director, screenwriter and occasional actor, as well as being on the board of the Independent Film and Television Alliance. The first Troma movie I ever saw (when I was about 16) was “Tromeo and Juliet” by James Gunn and I was hooked instantly. Since then I have watched tons of others in the Troma library. Lloyd strongly advocates independent arts and in this interview, Lloyd and I talk independence, new Troma movies, nasty liquids and more.
Watch Troma movies for free on their Youtube channel.
Learn about the independent movie business on Troma’s "Your Own Damn Channel".
Troma has started their Indie GoGo campaign this month. Help them get to Cannes to do their next documentary and fight the fight against giant media companies that are stifling independent arts.
Written by Morgue Anne
I should start off my review of Jimmy by William Malmborg by saying that this is not for the faint of heart. There are some extreme and graphic scenes of violence that many people will find upsetting and I am sure that more than a few people will start this book and set it down after the first few chapters. Those people will be missing out. Those like Malmborg who understand that everyone’s mind has these dark corners and the purpose of art, particularly fictional writing, is for many to express that in a healthy way will enjoy and hopefully really appreciate this book for what it is. Jimmy is an escape from reality that can be safe, sane, and consensual while still being intensely frightening.
For Jimmy, the title character of Malmborg’s novel, this distinction is not so clear. Trapped in that terrible in-between of adulthood and adolescence, Jimmy is further cursed with an unquenchable desire he simply can’t shake.
Too embarrassed to even talk to anyone, Jimmy dives deeper in the world of online porn. Malmborg does a fantastic job of not harping on pornography and showing that it’s the lack of knowledge and real-world context that does the real damage. As Jimmy’s fetish takes a turn towards obsession, he starts doing more and more to satisfy himself until he can take it no more and kidnaps a girl from his school.
This novel is definitely deeper than it seems at first glance, so don’t disregard this as a shock-value book. It would have been far too easy to turn this into an erotic novel and be a more extreme erotica, and I appreciate that while this is easily one of the most fucked up books I’ve read in a while, it’s also incredibly well written. Jimmy goes on a very real journey and knows that many of the choices he makes on the way to adulthood are wrong even as he can’t stop himself from making them. He is frighteningly real - I was kind of the weird kid, and I know we all knew at least one person in high school who just didn’t fit in with everyone else. The tragedy is, of course, that Jimmy makes such terrible choices and the effect that this has on the people around him, proving that while every teenager makes dumb decisions, they can still scorch the earth around you forever.
This is a different kind of horror that I found exciting and terrifying. Jimmy Hawthorne is the scariest villain of all because he’s a human being. He learns lessons and actually grows on you as a character heartbeats after revolting you. If you are someone who understands that you can be both a monster and a human being, or if you can enjoy a good psychology-meets-true crime, this is your book. If you are not comfortable with the idea of violence, or if maybe you need your violence to be a little more abstract, avoid this. Or better yet, protest it. This is a book deserving of more attention.
Written by Mandy McGee
Doug Campbell is the creator and eye behind Aetherial Images. He has a knack for capturing the most beautiful moments him and his subject share. That is what he is all about. We are alike in our craft because we like to pull pure emotion and personality out of the model even if they are acting a part for the camera. There is still a bit of raw energy behind it. Working closely with the people we photograph is something of value to us. You don’t always have that chance so I say grab that moment when you can. Doug usually shoots on a green screen so he can use the concepts in his mind and his graphic design training to his advantage. His images are heavy in the Steampunk genre, a little industrial and dark and sometimes very sensual.
Mandy: For our readers that don’t know you, who is Doug Campbell of Aetherial Images?
Doug: I was born in Seattle, stayed in Seattle, truly local. I fine-tuned a communication background that consisted of print, and radio as well as visual into a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design. I spent several years in tech support and when my job was outsourced I changed fields. I’ve always been a communicator, I read body language and expression…I’m a bit psychic sometimes. I can read a person as well and sometimes it creeps them out when they ask me what I think, and I ask, “Are you sure you’d like to know?”
Mandy: How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Doug: I started in High School in the 80’s watching monster movies with my dad. He would explain how they were made. So I did some experimentation in film with models. The camera and I parted ways for almost 20 years, but I picked up where I left off. This time I used the the new tools I had at my disposal. I am self taught in film and digital photography.
Mandy: Have you always wanted to do photography?
Doug: I like taking pictures and always have, but the photography is taking off in exciting ways I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve found that people come to me to celebrate something. It’s why they’re paying for my approach. They tell me in the days and weeks up to the shoot what they’re celebrating and we talk about what got them there…at the end of some collaboration, we’ve got beautiful pictures!
Mandy: Why do you choose the type of photography you do to focus on?
Doug: I ultimately need it all to create my PhotoArt. I take pictures of weather disturbances, nature, urban and rural decay. Those that get it, have donated their photos for my use because I’m not always able to travel due to health issues. I found a niche’ and I’m wedging myself as tightly as I can into it. I find joy uninhibited in my family photography. Children play with an abandonment that several years of psycho-babble about “their behavior” tones them down for adulthood. Work is work, but when that email or call comes that someone wants me to photograph them…that’s gold. I do compassion shoots, as well. It’s sad to see a pet go, sadder still when you decide it’s time to assist in the journey. Those are the shoots that bring the other end of the scale. It’s a dark trick indeed.
Mandy: What is most important to you, technique or vision?
Doug: It’s a toss up. A photographer’s greatest trick is to convince the subject the camera doesn’t exist. Everyone in the room knows it’s there of course, but it’s more of a conceptual thing until the shutters drop. Hunter Thompson explained it best, that there can never be such a thing as “reality TV” because just the act of bringing a camera into a situation distorts the reality of the situation. So if it’s all contrived, why not CONTRIVE? I tell people to reserve their spot, plan a half day playing in their costumes, and we’ll laugh, have fun and take some pictures.
Mandy: What equipment and software do you make use of in your work flow?
Doug: I have my own hardware and photoshop suite. I purchased the software was when I turned pro. I took my craft out of the hobby stage when I invested in myself. I use Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Flash. I do full-on graphic design and have enough RAM where I can run a few side-by side. I design a vector and drag it into the photo on the fly while heavy dark trance is pounding in the room as I work. I suppose it boils down to USB cables. If it wasn’t for them I’d be sunk. They connect me to my Terrorbytes of external maelstroms, and bring the raw elements of the Gods into the maelstrom from my camera. I build my own computers (and have for others) to do the work I do.
Mandy: What photographers inspire you?
Doug: Ansel Adams, his landscapes are excellently composed and worked with to provide near perfect retinal response…I feel like I could be lost in the Nevadas with an Ansel Adams book and navigate my way out using his photo references of the landscape.
Mandy: Tell me about a great memory about something you created.
Doug: I like images that cause a struggle in the spectator. They are drawn in, they spend the time questioning themselves, but something grabs them. Sensuality for some, horror for others, textures for still more. At a huanted house, I once photographed a beautiful woman pulling a skull out of a cadaver. Downlit, hitting her tophat, and this skull dangling from a meat hook. The bottom of the frame was the bridge of the nose and cheekbones so if you looked, you got the point of view of the top of the head facing you of her straddling this corpse, pulling a head out looking EXACTLY like Slash, from Guns And Roses. She and I both know we were at a haunted house, with lots of other people, and that the cadaver was rubber, but the finished product is VERY charged. It was set in an Art Nouveau style. It is in sepia and it screams 1925 or so, but it’s 2012. It’s not politically correct “horror” of our time and it’s not bloody either. YOU are filling it in, you’re adding the ick
Mandy: What inspires your photography style?
Doug: The people that come in front of the lens. I spend some time sizing up the situation, making setting adjustments I require, and go.
Mandy: If you could work for any publication what would it be?
Doug: Probably for sentimental reasons, Rolling Stone.
Mandy: What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography?
Doug: Find something that hasn’t been done before or well, focus your energy on that one small point and go. EXCEL at it! If it’s nature, nudes, or autopsy photos, be the best at it. Immerse and be part of the work. You can’t photograph something that doesn’t touch you emotionally in some way.
Written by Morgue Anne
Horror Business by Ryan Bradford is a must for fans of horror. If you are an enthusiast of the genre and this book is not on your shelf (next to John Landis’ Monsters in the Movies and Craig Chenery’s Blood Splatter just in case there’s a reference you don’t get), than you might as well be a mindless zombie.
Named after (I’m assuming) one of the greatest Misfits songs of all time, Horror Business combines elements of a ghost story, zombie flick, and even a good old fashioned slasher with a little tiny bit of noir thrown in for good measure. This gives us as readers a witches brew of pure awesome that will give you a chill up your spine seconds before you bust open your guy laughing.
Rather than the usual adult-writing-as-a-child narrative that often leaves something to be desired, Horror Business feels like you’re being told a story from an old friend. Bradford does a fantastic job with the main character, Jason, giving us someone very relatable – a young child with an obsession. Having a passion instead of lots of friends is something I think many people can relate to in their childhood, especially lifelong horror fans. If not, Bradford does a great job showing us what it was like and gives a crash course in the world of scary films. If you are not a ‘hard core’ horror fan, than I would suggest taking notes on names and movies to look up later. Jason is a hard core horror fan. So much so that him and his brother have been making a slasher film, which is surprisingly well written, in their spare time. Naturally, there is the love interest who comes in to play the female lead for their film as well as bring the boys out to play in the cemetery. If you thought Super 8 was good but just not scary enough, this is your book.
But the most character-fun is had with Brock, Jason’s dog. As always, animals are the messengers of doom, and Brock is no exception. I don’t care how many zombie novels you have read and how desensitized you are to small children being used as frightening imagery, this dog is guaranteed to give you the creeps as it goes through its unholy transformation.
Part of the charm of Horror Business lies in the references to classic horror films. Bradford is careful not to go overboard, but every character is named after someone within the genre (Dario, Jason, etc), so if you spend your Friday nights in the dark watching scary movies, or have a very solid argument for whether Freddy or Jason is the best (It’s Freddy, no question), than you’ll probably thoroughly this book with no questions asked. If someone you love suffers from Horror addiction, I would suggest reading this book as a fun starting point and take notes so you can sound like you know what they’re talking about.
This is not a long book, I read through almost all of it while waiting at the DMV -which while many would argue is enough time to finish a Neil Stephenson novel, but served me just fine for the 136 pages between these covers, which I felt was the perfect length. Bradford doesn’t waste time with any filler material; he leaves things just as they need to be with only the facts essential to the plot built in. All in all, this is a fantastic self-published book. I would probably recommend this as one of those amazing YA novels that everyone should read regardless of age, and while this is definitely a must-have for horror fans, it’s also a fantastic book to give to someone as an introduction to the genre.
Horror Business is for sale by the author through lulu.
Written by Morgue Anne
The Undead Situation by Eloise J Knapp is very similar to the 1949 classic post-apocalyptic novel in that our main character is almost unaffected by the downfall of society. Cyrus V. Sinclair (the V stands for a Variety of Awesome) has been capable of surviving on his own long before the zombie apocalypse, and does just as well after the dead start to rise. He is so stagnant in his life that it takes a while in the book before you even realize this is a male character. This is before Gabe falls into his life while trying to escape from an oncoming horde, and naturally this throws a huge wrench in Cyrus’ bachelor life style. Despite being polar opposites, they decide to venture out together and see if they can find Frank, Cyrus’ only friend and a fellow survivalist who lives in a cabin somewhere in the wild lands of Washington.
The characters of The Undead Situation are admittedly stereotypical in how emotionally cut off they are, but all of the humor in this otherwise serious book is that they are aware of it, and even call each other out in their behavior. Oddly enough, this gives them more dimensions and makes them people that you find yourself either loving or hating, but either way you can’t put it down. If you hate Cyrus and his like-minded friends, you just want to watch them die the worst death imaginable at the hands of the undead. If you are one of those people who thinks of Dexter and Hannibal Lector are sympathetic characters (it’s alright, you’re not alone), then you wait for everyone else to suffer that fate. Our ragtag team travels through various adventures – a town divided by passion for their God, men determined to breed women as animals – without ever really wanting to get involved. Getting involved means being dragged into whatever mess each remaining pocket of society has gotten itself into, which like most zombie novels is a great reflection of our worst societal flaws.
The Undead Situation is unlike other novels of the genre in that Knapp doesn’t try to overwhelm us with disgusting imagery. I love a good priest in a blood-soaked cassock or little girl gleefully gnawing on her ex-playmate as much as the next girl, but after a while I can only take so much of this graphic-for-the-sake-of-shock-value before I just roll my eyes at it. Knapp doesn’t dwell on these images of misery in the end-times, but instead leaves it at what I would say is a reasonable level of over the top violence for such a story, which lets us as the reader enjoy the various feats without feeling as if we’ve already read it a million times before, and means we get to either love or hate our characters as we please.
The absolute cherry on top, however, is Pickles. He is a ferret, and by far the most lovable character in this book. He is the shining example of how it’s the smaller, supporting characters who really bring the novel together, and we see this repeatedly throughout the story. I was pleasantly surprised by this first book and genuinely looking forward to whatever else Eloise J Knapp comes up with. I recommend The Undead Situation for anyone who is a fan of sociopathic characters, post-apocalyptic, and plain old fashioned good story-telling.