Photographing Halloween and Vampires

Photographing Halloween, Vampires and Other Related Subjects and Stories

Several years ago I had my first Village Halloween Parade experienced. I walked with my friend, who’s also my very first model. He wore his self-made dark angel wings. I went as his photographer.

The Red Circle. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Red Circles. Village Halloween Parade photographed by Alina Oswald. #tbt

As today is October 31, here are a few ideas for photographing Halloween:

  • go out in the street and photograph the Halloween parade, if possible; walk in the parade, but don’t always photograph the same people/costumes
  • zoom in on your subjects and/or on details that you find interesting in your subjects
  • zoom out to capture a more complex image of what a Halloween parade looks like, and also feels like
  • don’t photograph only people
  • always watch the background, try to keep it as simple and uncluttered as possible; that’s oftentimes a difficult task when capturing parades and street events
  • photograph not only the Halloween parade, but also ‘creatures’ or characters often associated with Halloween…such as vampires (my favorites)

Here are a few more Village Halloween Parade images:

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Over the years, I’ve discovered that more of my friends were willing to be photographed for Halloween, some of them, one in particular, dressed up as vampires. As I do speak Vampire (long story for another post, perhaps) I’ve become quite interested in photographing vampires. A few of my vampire-inspired images were part of the Of the Mind art show, at Casa Colombo. (and thanks to my friend, we did have a live vampire at the show, the opening night) Other images became part of my vampire-inspired photography book, Vampire Fantasies.

Fangs. Vampire and his cat. Photo by Alina Oswald.

In Vampire Fantasies I tried  to explore our obsession with these dangerous yet beautiful creatures of the night, and to look at the myths surrounding them, and also explore their human side, if there is one. Here’s an excerpt from my Vampire Fantasies artist statement:

Our fascination with vampires does not start with Edward Cullen (Twilight Saga), Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) or Vampire Lestat (Interview with the Vampire). It doesn’t start with Forks or New Orleans, but with an enigmatic, far-away place called Transilvania (or Transylvania, using English spelling), a region in a country called Romania, the homeland of the original vampire—Count Dracula.

Dracula goes by many names: Vlad the Impaler or Prince of Darkness. Ever since his death, his legend has lived on, surpassing centuries and generations. Dracula is the original vampire, the one who started our fascination with this enigmatic creature of the night, the dark predator whose very survival depends on bloodshed and, ultimately, death, human sacrifice.

Vampire characteristics have transformed and evolved, becoming trends of today’s fictional vampire—the vampire as a source of inspiration for our creative selves. Over the years, the vampire character has also evolved—from a hideous monster to a fabulous predator, a hero and even a protector of human life; from a creature of darkness to one who can survive natural light; from a solitary individual to someone able to blend in perfectly and live among humans in modern society.

Yet, some things do remain the same when it comes to vampires—their blood-thirst, their super-human powers, the wooden stake and, still, natural sunlight. While in the past these beliefs used to fuel our fear of vampires, nowadays they add to our fascination with vampires, to our intrigue and desire to break through their enigmatic aura and, quite possibly, fall for them.

It is precisely the mystery surrounding vampires that seeds related myths and beliefs, which, in turn, help elevate the vampire character to a subject of art. In that sense, art becomes a vehicle through which we express our feelings, our beliefs, fantasies and desires for these creatures of darkness.

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A note on photographing vampires:

Consider focusing on a certain aspect of the overall, complex vampire story. For example, when working on my vampire photography projects, I tried to represent a visual interpretation of our myths and beliefs surrounding vampires and explore our obsession with vampires–that is, our obsession with living forever, being forever young and beautiful, with super-human powers; our desire to explore the darker and more dangerous side of life, while always having an escape route back to our ‘normal’ existence; as well as our fear of being forever damned because of our decisions; and our fear of death and dying, and of the uncertainty awaiting for us on the other side of life.

Here are a few images from my show at Casa Colombo. All #tbt vampire images:

Halloween 2010

And also, here’s a #tbt from Halloween 2010–yours truly with my first model, the wonderful MJ.

 

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a safe Halloween.

Happy Halloween!

Alina Oswald

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