Otherworlds Convention 2014 Success

Posted on by .

I’ve been so busy getting round to my after thoughts of Warrington’s very first Otherworlds Convention that I helped co-organise.

Myself and Julie Morrisroe learned so much from this event, that next years event will be awesome and without the teething troubles we faced this year.  It was a massive gamble with no sponsorship and the risk of losing thousands of pounds.  Luckily the event broke even and this is why I say it was a success.  This has inspired us to really go for it in 2015.

Otherworld Guest Alternative Portraits

I met some wonderful people at the convention who wanted their photo to be taken by me. 

Mark Olly

Mark Olly attended the event to provide two wonderfully detailed lectures on the history of vampires and witches.  I really love the finished portrait above and it was a real pleasure taking his vampire portrait.

Tony-Longworth-Steampunk-webSteampunk Portraits

My first attempt at Steampunk portraits went amazingly well thanks to Tony Longworth who practically begged for his steampunk portrait to be taken. 

I love it when Tony poses and there’s more of him in my portrait gallery

Tony is a dark alternative music composer who provided the soundtrack to the traders hall.  He also sat on the Hollywood or Bust panel due to his work within the film industry. 

Visit his website at http://www.tonylongworth.com

Tony-Longworth-Steampunk2-web

Dr Miasma was a wonderful customer who had me intrigued with the mask and the gun that he made.  He told me via email following the event when finalising his poster print the following…

Thanks Mandy, I really enjoyed myself today! This was the first event that I’ve been to as a steampunk, and it was great to find everyone so friendly. I can definitely see myself going to more!

steampunk-portrait-amanda-norman

The Wirral Witch is an absolute favourite of mine.  This image of Tony Longworth’s other half, Tracey, reminds me of the old classic horror movie posters of the 80’s.

Tracey-Otherworlds-2014-web

And finally, my friend Vicky struck an unforgettable pose for her poster.  When I showed her the image for her approval prior to getting it printed, to say she was excited would be an understatement.  She was like a mad woman from an asylum hysterically telling me how much she loved it and that the image was perfect.

Horror poster portrait

Alternative Portrait Poster Service

With all Gothic, horror, Steampunk and alternative portraits, you get to personalise your very own poster with your chosen text.  Once I have created the poster, I send it to the customer who then has the opportunity to tell me what they like, dislike etc.  It’s so easy.  They now come in two sizes following requests at the convention.  12 x 8 and 24 x 16 inches.

2015 Horror Guests at Otherworlds Convention

For 2015, my role is more defined and I’m responsible for recruiting horror guests and performers.  Do you fit this bill and would you like to get involved?

Get in touch by clicking on the contact link above if you want to get involved or you would like a portrait poster.

Liverpool’s Canning Street Ghosts

Posted on by .

Today, 21st April 2014, Joan Povey got in touch with me via Twitter to tell me her terrifying account from when she lived in Canning Street.  A big thank you to Joan for allowing me to publish this here.

During the late sixties early seventies, I lived at 57 Canning street and my boyfriends friend lived at number 30. They occupied the whole house and they were the Swatton family.  Jeff our friend used to have party’s when his mum was away on business.   We didn’t drink or smoke so I know what we witnessed was real.

On one such night we were sitting around listening to music when we heard noises coming from the first floor landing, so we all crept upstairs and what we saw terrified u. When Jeff’s mum went away she would put locks on all the bedroom doors so we couldn’t get up to no good as we were all teenagers.  Well anyway, all the locks were rotating, we just sat there paralysed with fear and flew out of the house.  Jeff stayed at ours until his mum came home, he wouldn’t go back even though he had older sisters at home.

Years later I became friends with his sisters daughter Sharon and she told me she was reading in the lounge, when the world clock that stood on the mantle and hadn’t worked for years, suddenly chimed.  She looked up and saw a man with red eyes.  She screamed and it disappeared.  I remember that world clock clearly, because as a 15 year old it fascinated me. 

Sharon also said they invited a white witch in to look around and she said she felt a presence of an old lady with odd clothes and a dishevelled appearance, which fitted their old housekeeper Bella perfectly.   My boyfriend who I went on to marry remembered her well.

Joan x

I adore Tom Slemen’s Haunted Liverpool books so much that when I read them, I have to go and find the area he’s talking about and then photograph it to try and capture the eerie atmosphere he portrays so well.  This photograph was taken on the corner of Percy Street looking onto Canning Street.

Canning Street in Liverpool is just around the corner from where I live and I read the tale titled Through a Window Darkly about a jewellery and clock repair man who moved into a second floor flat on Percy Street.  This took place in 1937 and when sitting on his bed and taking off his shoes, this gentleman caught sight of a light out of the corner of his eye.  The light was coming from a dim lamp burning in the second floor window of a house across the road in Canning Street.

Canning Street Liverpool Amanda Norman

What he saw would haunt him for the rest of his life!

A woman was sitting at a dressing table brushing her long raven black hair when a man crept up behind here, put a bag or a pillowcase over her head and held her in a headlock.  The woman struggled and knocked over the lamp in the process because the window was plunged into sudden darkness.

The gentleman made enquiries, even as far as notifying the police, but to no avail.  A policeman told him that numerous people had reported seeing the same thing and nothing could be found. 

To read the story in full, please purchase Tom Slemen’s Haunted Liverpool 4.

In the book Haunted Liverpool 7, there is another tale of a ghost haunting a couple in 1996.  This ghost is terrifying and even tried to take control of the couples car when fleeing and drive it into the docks. 

If I had read this story first, I might not have ventured on to Canning Street.

Gothic Horror Inspired Works of Amanda Norman

Posted on by .

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

Glasgow-Nacropolis-at-Night

Heysham Graveyard by Amanda NormanAmanda 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:

Witch horror portrait featuring artist Amanda Jane Ryan by Amanda NormanVampire Horror Portrait by Amanda NormanWitch horror portrait featuring artist Amanda Jane Ryan by Amanda Norman

Werewolf Horror Portrait by Amanda NormanVampire Horror Portrait by Amanda NormanZombie Horror Portrait by Amanda Norman

Evening Angel Cemetery Photograph by Amanda Norman

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.

Drowned Headstone by Amanda Norman

York Minster Cathedral by Amanda Norman

Gothic Jewellery Box

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.

Cemetery Tunnel Ghost by Amanda Norman

References

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

Gas Mask Photographs–First Attempt

Posted on by .

For a good few months now, I’ve wanted a gas mask so much so that I can take some portrait shots and I finally got one a couple of weeks ago.  The only problem is, I don’t want to take a photograph that isn’t scary in some way.  So below are three test shots and my thoughts about them that will help to inspire me for my perfect horror shot.

The first shot shows Mark on his back as I didn’t want the standard full frontal shot.  I don’t think it’s scary though.

Gas Mask Portrait by Amanda Norman

Mark’s eyes caught my attention and I somehow had to capture these.  Again, it’s not horrifying.

Gas Mask Portrait by Amanda Norman

Finally, I thought it would be better if Mark took off his shirt, but personally, I think this is more of a fetish shot than anything else.

Gas Mask Portrait by Amanda Norman

My main lesson learned here with this first shoot is that the setting, which was the living room floor, is the reason why the photographs don’t have that edge.  I will think of a perfect location and try again, but never the less, I do like the photographs even though I didn’t achieve my goal.