I absolutely adore St James Cemetery in Liverpool due to its unique atmosphere and satanic etchings that can be found carved into the sandstone walls. If you’re a regular reader of my posts, you will know that I frequent St James Cemetery a lot and best of all, it’s at the bottom of my street, so when Kooky KJ from Warrington wanted a horror portrait shoot out on location with Kerry Sheree providing make up, St James Cemetery had to be the number one choice.
Click here to see more of my photography from St James Cemetery
Horror Portrait Inspired by the Ring
First stop on our horror portrait shoot was the tunnel that leads you down into St James Cemetery. The tunnel is lined with some fantastic looking headstones and above, the Anglican Cathedral towers over you with its unmistakable presence. It would be stupid not to take advantage of this location. With the dress Kooky KJ chose and her long black hair, I was inspired by the Japanese horror film, Ring and as always, Kooky KJ loves to play for the camera.
On this particular shoot, Holly, my 7 yr old granddaughter came along with her camera and she just loves to take photographs and provide video commentary. I do believe that she’s a natural journalist in the making, but I just had to show you the photograph she took of KJ at the time I was taking the one above. Dare I say it that she will take after me?
The only problem I had on this day was the bright sunlight, but I have to challenge myself with the environment that I have. I was dubious about Kooky KJ’s pose below due to the sunlight behind, but it turned out to be one of my favourite portraits and it shows how beautiful she is.
Model is Kooky KJ aka Kayleigh Johnson. Get in touch with her via her Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KJofficialfanpage or http://kayleighjohnson1986.wix.com/kjofficialwebsite#!portfolio/csx7
Kooky KJ as Wednesday Addams in St James Cemetery
It’s not easy finding somewhere to change in the middle of a busy cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but Kooky KJ managed it when she changed into her Wednesday Addams dress. We did ponder if she should put the Addams plaits into her hair, but I decided against this as I felt confident that her look should be inspired by the character. The plaits would have been lost on the horror portrait below due to the angle I chose and the grave in the background is such a perfect setting due to the iron and brick work providing excellent texture. By this time, we had attracted a small audience of curious onlookers with a family approaching to ask what we was doing.
Again, Kooky KJ is loving playing for the lens with that evil stare. Normally I’d be cursing the bright sunlight, but in this shot, it adds to the contrast.
Horror Portrait Service
Feel free to check out the various portrait galleries for examples of my work. All images with Kerry Sheree’s logo on them are photo shoots where I have teamed up with my talented daughter, Kerry Sheree to offer make-up services. If you would like your very own alternative portrait, please visit the alternative portrait service page for more information or click here.
I worked with Mandy and Kerry on a graveyard Gothic shoot at St James Cemetery in Liverpool , I chose to work with Amanda Norman Horror Photography because I believe Mandy and Kerry are the best at what they do in the UK for this genre of photography. I’m always really pleased with the results and when on set there is professionalism, but we always have such a great laugh too. I have so many other ideas for horror shoots and will definitely be wanting to collaborate with these two again on my future ideas. If anyone wants a horror or Gothic shoot these are the ladies to do it with xxx Kooky KJ
The Vampire of St James
Kooky KJ’s shot below was not intentionally set up as a vampire portrait. I wanted to capture the headstones in the background due to the way the light was filtering through the trees as well as KJ modelling the necklace I made that same day that had a carved skull with fangs and pearl beads as eyes. The result is what you see below and it’s thanks to KJ with that evil kooky stare of hers that gave it the vampire feel.
There are tales of vampires at St James Cemetery that I have written about before….
Haunted Liverpool: St James Cemetery Vampire
St James Cemetery is reported to be haunted. It used to be a sandstone quarry, abandoned in 1825 and then converted in to a graveyard catering for over 57,000 Victorian and Edwardian dead. I’ve already written about the limping ghost in a top hat and tails that haunts the tomb of MP Huskisson. This can be read here, but after doing some research, I’m more astounded with Tom Slemen’s tale of the ‘The Christmas Vampire‘. Please visit Tom’s website and treat yourself to one of his books as I have a massive collection. I must get him to sign one for me sometime. What do you say Tom?
In December 1970 a female who lived in a second floor flat on Huskisson Street, as I do, was walking her dog in St James Cemetery.
She witnessed some grey smoke hanging over the grand tombs near to the tunnel in the north end of the cemetery that caught her curiosity. The smoke formed into a man and that’s when she picked up her little dog and legged it!
She returned to the cemetery days later with her friend and her friend’s boyfriend, George and they went to the exact spot where the smoke had formed. All three of them saw a man in a top hat, long cape, wearing a monocle who had blue cast skin, who smelled of leaf mould. Girls being girls, screamed and ran off and George got punched in the jaw so hard nearly breaking it. He managed to escape and after reporting it to the police, no man was ever found.
Funnily enough, when me and my friend Ryan was in the cemetery a couple of nights ago practicing light painting photography, Ryan looked over into that part of the cemetery and thought he saw the figure of a man. Of course I talked him out of seeing that and I immediately rationalised it being the figure of an angel hugging a cross. Did Ryan see the vampire?
The story goes on to tell of other victims being bitten by this vampire and children being chased by it. Furthermore, the poor female who lived in the same street as myself, began to feel like she was being watched one night and when she looked out of the window, the blue faced figure gazed up at her. She of course immediately retreated and didn’t sleep for the rest of the evening. In the morning, a black rose was waiting for her on the steps. I can assure you that I won’t be looking out of my window tonight!
Read the story here: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+Christmas+Vampire.-a0190453826
Visit Tom Slemen’s website: http://www.slemen.com/