Strangest Photography Assignment

Uploaded 30 May 2012 — 12 favorites
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© Vin Weathermon
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Likes 9
Favorites 12
Comments 20
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

The Head was used as a design model for movie production. I was consigned to photograph the Head and Houdini's seance table in the same week, both brought over by its owner who "rented" these out periodically for studios to model. The resulting photos were to be in his "catalog of creepy stuff" for hire.

To photograph the head I wore cotton gloves while preparing the set. I didn't want to particularly touch it anyway. It was difficult to do this without thinking about "who" this once was. Creepy as hell along with the Houdini table in the back of my mind. Balanced the head on top of a gooseneck clamp. The branches for leaves I added to make it appear jungle-like.

About this Head: This real shrunken human head most likely was a child because it's lustrous, dark brown hair was not very long, but beautifully clean and shiny. I have heard about many fakes, but I inspected this closely and there were hairs coming out of the skin in just the same pattern as you'd find on a human. The imperfections seemed real.

The Head is only about three inches high. It smelled of menthol and camphor and was kept in a glass jar with a metal lid. I'm told the process was to peel the face off of the skull, then wrap around progressively smaller heated rocks which kept the shape of a skull until its final dried form. Note the lips sewn shut with the "string" knotted through a small bone handle. Who was this? Did he or she have a name? Were these killed babies, used as war trophies and tourist trinkets?

Inside was stuffed newspaper written in spanish wording dated around 1930's i think.

It was a creepy assignment, but fun too.

Circa 1992, a quick digital photo of the print. Hope I can find the negatives.

20 responses

  • SlowPoke

    SlowPoke said (31 May 2012):

    i like the rim of light. and that lighting in background reminds me of kenneth anger`s kustom kar kommandos.

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) gave props (31 May 2012):

    Stunning !!!!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (31 May 2012):

    WOAH! That is creepy. An amazing image.

  • Lev Lerner

    Lev Lerner   gave props (31 May 2012):

    Chilling creepy! The image is great, but I can't even think about light, composition and other art stuff! My vote

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (31 May 2012):

    FABULOUS! a winner!

  • aerociro

    aerociro gave props (31 May 2012):

    horrible!!!

  • Vin Weathermon

    Vin Weathermon   gave props (1 Jun 2012):

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR YEAH!!! VOTES!!

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (1 Jun 2012):

    Hauntingly surreal

  • Massimo Bardelli

    Massimo Bardelli   gave props (3 Jun 2012):

    Yeah I like it voted!

  • Meghan Langley

    Meghan Langley gave props (6 Jun 2012):

    disturbing as hell, but a cool pic

  • Andrew Kelly

    Andrew Kelly gave props (7 Jun 2012):

    Well done.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Vin Weathermon   gave props (10 Jun 2012):

    thanks to voters......appreciate the kindess

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (10 Jun 2012):

    totally creepy cool! voted

  • richardbrucesmith

    richardbrucesmith said (13 Jun 2012):

    Definately got my vote.

  • Karin J. Burton

    Karin J. Burton said (13 Jun 2012):

    Wow, that is pretty damn creepy! You got my vote! Awesome!!

  • Brodie Day

    Brodie Day gave props (14 Jun 2012):

    Very creepy indeed. My vote.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Vin Weathermon   said (3 Jul 2012):

    guys, i want to win creepy...come on vote!!!!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (3 Oct 2012):

    creepy cool.

  • Abha Kaul

    Abha Kaul gave props (10 Oct 2012):

    Very creepy indeed! Just perfect for this theme though..

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever   gave props (21 Oct 2012):

    disturbing but well captured.

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