Oct 31 2011: Three (Mostly) Unintentional Halloween Style Photographs from Snapshot Collections (1950s and 70s)

Three images selected from a folder of scanned photographs to fit the general Halloween mood. The three elderly ladies larking about at a fairground stall, turning themselves into witches around a bubbling cauldron, is comic and quirky enough, I suppose, but there’s something more genuinely unsettling about the other two photographs here, mainly because neither intends to record anything untoward or out of the ordinary. The snapshot of a small girl standing by a wall is a fairly typical overexposure, as light has leaked into the camera and flooded one side of the image, but something about her rigid posture and the eerie light seen together nevertheless seems to evoke some kind of phenomenon in progress. Most uncanny of all is the polaroid of three children in a Christmas living room, taken some time during the 1970s: nothing is really out of place here, but the combination of low light and the unsmiling expressions of the children themselves suggest a haunted quality, as though these are children recorded during some kind of a parapsychological experiment, or possibly caught in a still from a 70s horror film in the moment just as something unspecifically threatening has begun to happen, inexplicably, in their home…

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