Halloween is coming up fast and nothing really gets you in the spirit like creepy photos—well, aside from haunted houses, popping out of closets to scare your friends, dressing your poor dog up like Superman for the sake of social media, and overdosing on pumpkin spice everything. We love finding neat photographers, especially when they're inspired by horror films and produce photos that make us squint our eyes and lean precariously close to the image. When we first spotted Christopher McKenney's horror surrealist photography, it was his eerie ghost-like shots of figures beneath (sometimes blood-soaked) sheets, the bodies only visible where the material touches, and we instantly needed to know more about him. Thankfully, he was kind enough to answer some questions and dished on the best horror films, what scares him the most, and which photo is his favorite.
JustLuxe: How did you get started in photography?
Christopher McKenney: I wish I had an awesome story about how I got started, but honestly one day I bought a camera just to "play" with. I look at my relationship with photography to be like most people's relationships with their significant other. I started out not really knowing what I was getting into, then I started to really like it, and now I'm in love with it.
JL: Did you start out shooting different styles or was horror surrealist photography always what you were interested in?
CM: My first real style of shooting was long exposure photography. That's honestly how I taught myself to use a SLR, before that I had no idea how to even use a camera.
JL: What attracts you to horror?
CM: I've always been into horror. From movies to music, the theme of horror has been there. I can remember being six or seven, eating Corn Flakes and watching Marilyn Manson's Beautiful People music video and thinking it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
JL: Your images are disturbing, but also very beautiful and calm; how do you strike this balance?
CM: I wish I knew how to answer this. Really, I just try to show people what they are the most scared of and that's the "unknown" and "what ifs" and place those two things in familiar areas.
JL: You've been quoted as saying that you like to take identity away in some of your photographs; why are you attracted to the loss of identity?
CM: I hate identity. Like I said, the unknown is much more interesting.
JL: Do you have a favorite photo of yours that was particularly challenging?
CM: I really love all the photos I have made. What most people don't understand is that 98 percent of my work was made just for me. No one paid me to do; it I just made the photos I see in my head for myself. I can look back on all the photos I have made and remember exactly how I was feeling at that point in my life. If I had to pick though it would be my "take me away" photo with balloons suspending a noose in the air. That photo is really different than a lot of my others, but I think it speaks the loudest.
JL: What was the first scary flick you ever saw?
CM: The first real scary movie I ever saw was probably The Exorcist.
JL: Who are your favorite filmmakers? Do you ever make artistic representations of favorite films/scenes/filmmakers?
CM: Obviously Stanley Kubrick! My all-time favorite would have to be Alfred Hitchcock though, as unoriginal as that my sound. Mario Bava was awesome too! I have referenced movies like The Ring and some others in my photos.
JL: Top 5 scary flicks?
CM: The Shining, The Exorcist, It, The Ring, and The Poughkeepsie Tapes.
JL: What truly scares you?
CM: Open water, being stranded in the middle of a sea with nothing.