Dark, Gothic, horror and alternative photography isn’t everyone’s cup of tea…
Over the years, people have tried telling me to change my genre of photography if I want to make a living out of it. I simply can’t do this as I find traditional photography mundane.
Who is Amanda Norman?
Born in 1971, Amanda Norman is not your average female. Walk into Amanda’s place that she shares with her partner Mark and you’ll find skulls, witches, masks and lots more ghoulish items decorating the shelves and walls. She currently resides in the Georgian quarter of Liverpool and there finds lots of inspiration for her Gothic horror photography.
Amanda loves Gothic horror and finds the unknown to be scary, but enticing. She tries to project her passion, her thoughts and feelings of the genre onto the viewer. What is it about creepy imagery that unnerves people and how do you capture someones imagination with a photograph?
Why Gothic Horror and Alternative Photography?
There’s something about Gothic horror and the old tales of vampires, ghosts, demon’s and poltergeists that scares me a lot. I think it’s the unknown element as you find yourself wondering if these creatures exist and if they do, I don’t want them anywhere near me. Why do people write about them in the first place if they don’t exist?
I remember as a child catching my first glimpse of Frankenstein’s monster on the old Universal Horror films stumbling through a creepy graveyard and it got my imagination going. I was hooked!
Then along came TV programs like The Addams Family and my favourite, The Munsters. In my teenage years, Hammer House of Horror scared the living daylights of me. Who remembers The House That Bled to Death?
Of course I have to mention my love of Hammer Horror and their vampire films that were based on literary classics from authors such as Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu.
I believe that there are things hidden that only a few of us will ever see or experience in our life times. The mundane amongst us will shrug that thought off immediately stating that it’s a lot of rubbish, but those of us who are open minded will at least question the existence. Take for example ghosts or spirits. I myself have experienced things that I don’t have an answer for and trust me, I am very skeptical.
When I was about the age of 5 or 6 yrs old, I used to play a game were I would lie face down on my bed and float through it to lie on the floor. The dust particles would tickle the insides of my nostrils due to my mother never cleaning underneath the bed. If I heard someone come up the stairs, I’d be transported back to my body in a flash.
I was always scared of going down the stairs in the old house in Heysham, near Morecambe as I used to think that a mad man would peer over the banister and come after me. I always used to edge down slowly with my back against the wall, facing the banister and once half way down, I would run the rest of the way. What made me this scared?
Years later my daughter had an imaginary friend and at the same time, I would often see a shadow darting past out of the corner of my eye. There was no explanation for the shadow.
I was once in a cemetery when I got a strong powerful feeling of being watched. I turned around and I can only describe it as a kind of heat shimmer moving past me, but I wasn’t terrified. Nervous yes!
What got you started with photography?
As a child I lived by the coast and I used to frequently visit St Peter’s churchyard that sat overlooking Morecambe bay. Unfortunately for me, I had to move away under dreadful circumstances and I’ve always had a yearning to move back as I miss it. I remember spending many hours in this graveyard, studying the inscriptions and sensing a strange atmosphere, but not being scared.
I wanted to recapture these feelings that I had as a child, so I arranged a mini break to specifically take photographs so that I would always have them to treasure. Armed with my Fuji compact camera, I happily snapped away, but, when I returned home and looked at the photographs, they were so flat and boring that they never projected any of the emotions I wanted to feel. They were just pictures. I was horrified with the results, but it was at this point that I realised that photography is an art and a challenge. I was hooked!
Descendant of Old Chattox, a Pendle Hill Witch?
I have always been fascinated with the memory of my Grandad telling me that I was a descendant of Old Chattox (Anne Whittle) hung for witchcraft in Lancaster on 20 August 1612. I don’t know how true this is, but I tried to do my family tree once and I gave up due to a lack of personal information from old mother dear.
What do you like to photograph most?
If I’m inspired by something that has an element of creepiness or unknowing to it, then I’ll photograph it. This could be ruins, Victorian cemeteries, old Gothic graveyards or just a tree. It’s whatever catches my imagination.
In regards to portraits, these are becoming a great source of fun and intrigue. I love to meet new people and I enjoy their reactions to their finished portrait. I don’t set out to create a vampire, werewolf or zombie. A lot of the time, my lens reveals ones true hidden soul, hence ‘What Does Your Soul Say About You?’
Do you have any other talents?
I enjoy Tarot reading a lot as I get a lot of satisfaction out of a good reading. Empathy is such a strong energy that can boost ones own energies.
I also enjoy finding new mediums to display my photography. I currently create photo jewellery that can be seen in my online store, but for a Christmas present (2014), I created a photo jar for Mark’s mum and she loved it.
What camera equipment do you own?
I currently own a Nikon D7100 with a number of lenses to choose from. You don’t need an expensive camera to take a good photograph.
Who inspires your work?
I’ll never forget the time when I was flicking through channels, as you do when you have so many and you’re not even spoilt for choice, when I heard the deep tones of a man talking whilst walking through some creepy woods. This immediately got my attention so I flicked back and within a couple of minutes, I was in awe!
I thought it was just me who had a passion for this type of photography, for finding creepy places and telling stories about them. This TV program titled The Twilight Hour introduced me to the late Sir Simon Marsden who will forever remain the master photographer of this genre for all eternity. http://www.simonmarsden.co.uk
Further information about Amanda
Student Timothy P Flynn got top marks for his project about Amanda’s Work. Click here to read it!
Below is a collection of links to other websites featuring interviews with Amanda
Alternative Portrait Service
Amanda has teamed up with her talented daughter, Kerry Sheree who is a qualified and professional make up artist. Together they offer clients the opportunity of their very own photo shoot. For further information about the alternative portrait service, please click here.
Below you will find Amanda’s most common questions and answers. If you have any further questions, please comment below or feel free to contact her using the link above.