Monday, September 17, 2012

The Horrors of Childhood: The Photography of Joshua Hoffine

Fear is one of the most primal of all emotions. A case can certainly be made that it is the first emotion we feel upon leaving the comfort of the womb. I know as a child, I felt fear on a regular basis. I think this is true of most children, and it's largely due to the fact that kids have such vivid imaginations. I've often argued that a large part of the appeal of Halloween is it is a way of coping with, and ultimately overcoming, the crippling power of fear. By taking on a frightening guise, we become what we fear...and thus take away its ability to scare us.
My own childhood was filled with all sorts of terrors. The monsters in my favorite movies had nothing on those things that I just KNEW were lurking outside my window. As I lay awake at night, hiding under the covers (because, somehow, if your head wasn't exposed the monsters couldn't get you), my mind raced with all sorts of horrifying scenarios. A coat in the corner became a wicked witch, just waiting for me to get up so she could catch and carry me away. Horrid demons lurked in the hallway, ready to drag me to the netherworld for not telling my parents about that bad grade I got in math last week. A trip to the bathroom could mean that I would meet my doom at the hands of some hideous ghoul, hungry beast or some other fiend that adults claimed wasn't real. Oh, but I KNEW better!
As childhood faded into puberty, new horrors awaited. The monsters became replaced by the madmen that I was hearing about on the news. While the all-too real face of evil was now fueling my imagination, the scenarios were only slightly more plausible than my more childish musings. Many of these nightmares were akin to the urban legends we all heard as kids, from the "Hook Man" to the "Man in the Back Seat", and I must think that a great many of those probably sprung from the minds of adolescents.
Photographer Joshua Hoffine has made fear his primary subject, and many of his portraits are focused on the horrors we all imagined as children. Using his daughters as his models, he creates truly disturbing portraits of childhood fear. I think most people will find that these pics strike a rather primal chord. I know that I personally found more than one of these rather disturbing, simply because I had imagined such similar scenarios when I was little.
For those of you who may want to see more of Mr. Hoffine's freaky images, you can check his website: . He has other topics that he explores aside from childhood terror, but they are all equally horrific in nature.
If you're interested in all the minutia that goes into the creation of these pics, you can hop on over to his blog, where he shows you all the behind-the-screams details you're craving:
Sweet dreams!


Guillaume said...

Wow, those are great spooky pics! Sometimes the child is creepier than the critter.

Your post reminds me of many of my own childhood fears, of the times I used to run up the stairs from the basement so a witch wouldn't catch me, when I was peeking at the woods on my way to school because we were told this is where "maniacs" were hiding. I knew nothing about the word, only that they were supposed to be evil people.

Wendy the (Very Good Witch) said...

Oooh....these are really creepy, and quite cool at the same time! Monster's Inc. they are NOT! ;o)

The Gill-Man said...

Haha! TRUE!

His blog has some pics of the "behind the scenes" for some of the shots! The one with the devil rising from the floor is especially cool, as you can see his daughter laughing and having a good time in-between takes. I have to wonder if these pics actually help his girls with their own fears, as they come to see these things as their dad's silly pictures.