I get lots of requests from students asking if they can interview me for their project, but rarely do they send me their research paper for me to read.
It was such a pleasure and an honour to read Timothy P. Flynn’s project that he got full marks for and he’s kindly granted permission for me to publish on my blog. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
The Darker Side of Photography: Gothic/ Horror Inspired Works of Amanda Norman
Amanda Norman-born in 1971- possesses a passion and fascination with Gothic Horror that started in her early years. A native of Great Britain, who now resides in Liverpool, Norman recalls that her passion developed from the first glimpse of the old Universal Horror movies featuring Frankenstein’s monster. She then moved on to the Hammer Horror movies era (which perverted and enormously inspired children around the world) and a horror genre lover was created.
In 2004, Norman revisited an old childhood haunt, which happened to be an old village graveyard in Heysham, in an attempt to capture the atmosphere and emotion she remembered as a child. With a cheap Fuji compact camera at hand, she took some snapshots. This is the beginning of her interest in photography, and the direction her life will lead.
Inspiration can come in many forms. The dark and eerie elements in regard to Norman’s cemetery photos have two specific sources: her love for the work of the late Sir Simon Marsden, and her conscious thought in creating a “dark atmosphere” to her work. Here is a link to Norman’s blog tribute to her mentor/ inspiration: http://blog.amandanorman.com/a-tribute-to-the-late-sir-simon-marsden/.
The “dark atmosphere” that emulates from Amanda Norman’s work is much more pronounced and evident in her fascinating creation of the “Horror Portrait”.
Norman had found that traditional portrait shots were quite boring, so she found an entertaining way to ‘reveal’ the dark side of her subjects through the lens of a camera. Now this is not to say that Norman “poses” her subjects in advance, what she accomplishes in these shots is what can be revealed or found during the processing stage. The witch, vampire, or zombie that becomes the final image is the unexpected product of the capture and creation of each individual subject and photo session.
Here are a few examples of Amanda Norman’s- Horror Portraits:
The key photography elements and principles used by Amanda Norman are perfect examples of how to take a great photograph with emphasis in mind. She has an eye for composition that creates an overall focused image with a dark atmosphere. The creative use of value, space, and texture also creates a perfect balance to the lights/darks to give the impression of dimension and sizes (also relating to proportion as a technique). Norman’s decisions of the various contrast adjustments show skill and knowledge on how to process a photo for the overall effect and outcome. And, processing these types of photos in a Horror/dark genre using Black and White or other non-color process effect- reflects that Amanda Norman truly understands the genre, and spills that dark atmosphere and emotion into every shot she takes. Not bad for someone who has never had a formal lesson in photography; Norman is self taught.
At present, Amanda Norman works a 9-5 job as a health & safety administrator with the dream of being able to pursue her talents in photography full time. Norman also began creating Gothic/Horror inspired jewelry that features her portraits and other eerie/spooky items such as “skull rosaries”. The ultimate dream for Norman would be to travel through the UK, just like the late Sir Simon Marsden, and capture photos of spooky and Gothic places. She also would enjoy owning a shop where customers could pose for her Horror portraits and buy her photography prints and jewelry (amandanorman.com/about-amanda). The pursuit of the creative life has many challenges along the way, even for the incredibly talented and gifted few like Amanda Norman, but this writer truly believes that her work will find the success it deserves in the near future.
Norman, A. (2013). Gothic horror photographer: Amanda Norman one of Britain’s foremost horror photographers. Retrieved from http://www.amandanorman.com/
**All photos used in this paper retrieved from http://www.amandanorman.com/
NUTS4R2. (2012, June 29). Interview with Amanda Norman. Retrieved from http://nuts4r2.blogspot.com/2012/06/interview-with-amanda-norman.html
Silverthorn, C. (2009). Amanda Norman- horror photographer. Retrieved from http://rravendove.hostcentric.com/id80.html