My generation, spawned in abundance from postwar industry, yet in the shadow of a secret dark done deal with The “defeated enemy of human kind”– in the name of science, was the first modern generation to be nurtured by larger than life images of The Horror.
For some of us,the word itself evokes a bald Brando-face and voice reciting T. S. Eliot,
The Hollow Men telling us we must make friends with the horror enshrined in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. The release of that epic psychedelic experience is an emotional spear piercing our collective consciousness with horror- fantasy oozing through permeable membrane into social reality. It is our mortal terror in the form of war’s surreal beauty, It was visionary film- making on a scale Kubrick’s 2001 brought to Science Fiction. Prometheus in more recent times possibly achieves this impact.
But most of us think of other movies that grabbed us and shook us by the scruff of our necks as children and began our love affair with this once disreputable genre of movie making. It was a longer journey of primal perceptions from our naive child eyes seeing monsters in the dark, through Star Wars and Aliens, to view ever greater epic metaphors and Lords of Rings. There, an elegant cannibal Hannibal dines with Ann Rice while ghosts of vampires and Terminators evoke our erotic smiles from this Mortal Matrix.
Many of us may have marked events in our lives based on the era of these mind altering films, just as our gang recalls vividly where we were at the death announcement of JFK. Like Stephan King, we love Dracula, Wolfmen, Mummies and Frankenstein monsters with undying passion. The female playmates and protagonists of creature features and fantastika are known to mesmerise our erotic attention and responses at subtle levels that a Playboy centerfold, hermetically sealed in cliche, or a pornographic anatomy lesson pinup, can only diminish.
I am one of those children who feared to sleep lest the seedpods begin to form in my likeness. I am still thrilled by the esthetics of fear on film where I find only boredom or disdain at the politics and priorities of mundane collective life by self limited imaginations. My photographic work since 1971 when my first professional images appeared in print is a celebration of dance and drama, passion in performance, love for Eros and the skills of craft. The duality/unity of beauty and horror is still irresistible. The creation of a valid visual synthesis is a sublimated sexual act . I think of my photos as a personal deck of cards embossed with silver, pinned to a darkening wall for viewing: arcane symbols. palimpsests of subtexts refined to simple form– butterflies and bats inscribing their living grail to our optic nerves.