I spent my teens living in Edinburgh. At weekends, I avoided people, spent my time wandering around the city taking photographs of the expected fare: historic buildings, monuments, and the always busy streets. I guess I was trying to fix, as much in my head as in black & white and color, how I fitted into all of this—other than by a mere accident of birth.
When a roll was finished, I waited the obligatory three days to a week for the magic to be done and a slim paper wallet filled with photographs to be returned. The finished pictures offered something I thought I could call my own. But a lot of the time, I wondered why the hell I’d bothered. The pictures were all too often backdrops—little more than mere representations of what already existed. That’s possibly why I always liked the pictures that came back with a quality control label attached. The ones that stated the image was blurred, or out of focus, or the subject was too close to the camera or camera shake. These poorly-taken pictures were far more appealing to me as they were a starting point for imagination rather than biography.
“Bad” photographs are sometimes like the best illustrations to weird tales of horror and nightmare. The woman who happily sat in her garden waiting for her picture to be taken oblivious of the small approaching beast, its flash of teeth and claws, ready to pounce and eat. Or, the family of monstrous shapeshifters captured unraveling in front of an unsuspecting tourist. Or, the demon held proudly aloft in its mother’s arms burning with the flames of Hell. Or, that strange Lovecraftian light moving purposefully across the creased waters of a lake.
Via La boite verte.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Black holes: Censorship’s handiwork creates eerie photographs
‘Ghosts’ photobomb portraits of their loved ones