Joshua Hoffine is one of the most recognized photographers in the world. He is a pioneer in the subgenre of Horror photography. He stages his photo-shoots like small movies, with sets, costumes, elaborate props, fog machines, and SPFX make-up. Everything is acted out live in front of the camera. He uses friends and family members, including his own daughters, as actors and crew.
Joshua Hoffine was born in Emporia Kansas in 1973. He graduated from high school in Kansas City in 1991, and earned a B.A. in English Literature from Kansas State University in 1995. Shortly after graduation, Hoffine began making photographs. He earned an M.F.A. degree from Miskatonic University in 2001.
In 2003 Hoffine began making what he called 'Horror photographs.' His Horror photography exploded on the internet in 2008 when he released a series of images exploring the nature of childhood fears. Since that time his work has been featured in numerous magazines, anthologies, and news outlets around the world, and he has developed a cult following for his meticulously staged photographic works.
In 2014 Hoffine released his first short Horror film titled BLACK LULLABY. The 4 minute film features a young girl and her confrontation with the boogeyman. Starring his daughter Chloe Hoffine and SPFX make-up from J. Anthony Kosar, the film was created as the climax to his photo series dealing with childhood fears.
In 2018 Hoffine released a 12"x12" hardcover collection of his Horror photographs with publisher Dark Regions Press. This comprehensive volume spans 13 years of work (2003-2016) and includes rare behind-the-scenes photos and artist commentary. The release includes a signed and numbered leather Deluxe hardcover edition of 300 with dust jacket and linen slipcase.
He has announced that his next project will be a full-length Horror movie.
Joshua Hoffine lives and works in Kansas City. He is married to Jen Hoffine and has 5 daughters.
"Horror is bootcamp for the psyche." - Wes Craven
What is Horror?
Horror, as an art form, is the creative manipulation of the fear response.
We are born in fear.
Fear is the first emotion.
Fear is primal.
Fear predates mankind.
The emotion of fear evolved as a basic survival mechanism. It is the ability to recognize danger.
Fear is a feeling of dread and agitation that leads to an urge to confront the danger, or flee from it. This is the fight-or-flight response.
This response compels animals to move away from a perceived threat and hide. All people experience fear as an instinctual response to potential danger. This mechanism is important to the survival of all species.
The capacity to fear is a basic part of human nature. Certain fears are more common than others. Because early humans who were quick to fear dangerous situations were more likely to survive and reproduce, certain innate fears developed as a result of natural selection.
These innate fears include fear of the dark, fear of lurking predators, and the fear of being eaten. As we grow older these fears lose their intensity and are slowly shuffled away into our Unconscious.
Horror, as an art form, draws its strength from the Unconscious.
Other fears develop as a result of learning. New fears can be acquired through a traumatic event. When a situation incites fear, the brain records the event and stores it away for similar future situations.
All of our traumas, like our childhood fears, are filed away in the Unconscious.
Fear is transferable.
Fear and the emotional response to dangerous situations can be triggered through observation. Observing fear in others elicits fear in ourselves.
Horror is psychological in nature.
Horror is fear by proxy.
Why do people enjoy being frightened?
Recreational terror, such as Horror movies, roller coasters, and haunt attractions, all simulate danger for the bodily pleasure of the fight-or-flight response in the absence of real threat.
There are many physiological changes in the body associated with fear. The fight-or-flight response accelerates heart rate, dilates blood vessels, and increases muscle tension and breathing rate.
People enjoy the rush that comes from this physical response.
My role as a Horror photographer is to show you what you don't want to see.
My photographs, like Horror movies, use realistic images to stimulate mirror neurons, to exploit involuntary empathy reflexes, and elicit fear through observation.
Unlike a movie, a photograph is atemporal. A photograph can only depict a single moment in time. There is no before, or after. The tension of the moment remains unresolved.
Also unlike a movie, a photograph is a physical, tangible object. You can hold a photograph in your hands.
Photography has more potential for Horror than other visual mediums, like painting or illustration. Photography captures Horror with a literal and impartial eye. Seeing is believing. The more realistic and convincing the image, the more impactful it is on the viewer.
Through Horror photography, inherent fears and forgotten traumas, long dormant in the Unconscious, can be triggered and rediscovered.
Monsters hiding under the bed can be dragged out into the light of day.
Horror fulfills an important sociological function.
Horror provides a space where taboo emotions, such as fear and rage, can find safe expression.
This is the purpose of Horror.
Horror is metaphorical in nature.
Monsters are our fears or anxieties, expressed in symbolic form.
It is this metaphoric capacity that gives Horror meaning.
Horror exists in all cultures, during all epochs of time. Horror as a genre predates cinema. Horror stories predate the written word.
Monsters appear in all the myths and religions of the world. From Beowulf to Gilgamesh, from the ancient Greeks to the Old Testament.
Even in folklore and fairy tales, Monsters and Horror stories abound.
Horror, like fear, is universal.
Horror never ceases to be relevant because we never cease to be afraid.
Horror is existential in nature.
The Horror story is ultimately concerned with the imminence and randomness of death, and the implication that there is no certainty to existence. The experience of Horror resides in this confrontation with uncertainty. Horror tells us that our belief in security is delusional, and that the Monsters are all around us.
Maleficium 6, Group Art Show, Kosart Gallery, Chicago
Maleficium 5, Group Art Show, Kosart Gallery, Chicago
Horror Exhibit, De Warande, Brussels Belgium
Maleficium 4, Group Art Show, Kosart Gallery, Chicago
Maleficium 3, Group Art Show, Kosart Gallery, Chicago
Zombie, Group Art Show, Last Rites Gallery, NYC
Spectrum Fantastic Art Show 2, Kansas City
Maleficium 2, Group Art Show, Kosart Gallery, Chicago
Spectrum Fantastic Art Show, Kansas City
No Borders, Skopje Art Institute, Skopje, Macedonia
A Love Craft, The Observatory, Brooklyn, NY
Blood, Sweat and Fears, Sacred Gallery, NYC
Maxim, Article, Russia
MMM Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Flap Magazine, Article and Interview, Turkey
Washington Post, Article, USA
Rue Morgue Magazine, Article and Interview, Canada
BBC Online, Interview, UK
Professional Photographer Magazine, Article, USA
Sunday World Newspaper, Article, Ireland
Scream Magazine, Article and Interview, UK
Die Welt, Article and Interview, Germany
Fangoria Magazne, Article and Interview, USA
VG Helg Magazine, Article and Interview, Norway
Living Dead Magazine, Interview, USA
Calcalist Magazine, Article and Interview, Israel
Horror Hound Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Virus Art Anthology, Cover, Germany
The Guardian UK, Article and Interview, UK
National Opera of Paris, Hansel and Gretel Program, France
Emaho Magazine, Article and Interview, India
ABC News Online, Article and Interview, USA
Huffington Post, Article and Interview, USA
Gore Noir, Article and Interview, USA
The Wild, Article, USA
HuffPost Live, Interview, USA
Oddities, Season 4 Episode 16 ' No Guts, No Glory', Discovery Channel
RGV Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Horror Writers Association of Australia, Article and Interview, Australia
Huffington Post, Article and Interview, USA
CBC Radio, Fear Itself - Episode 7, Interview, Canada
Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, Photo-essay, USA
Urban Garden Magazine, Article, USA
La Membrana, Article, Mexico
Fangoria Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Suspense Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Dangerous Ink Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Desktop Magazine, Article and Interview, Australia
Focus Magazine, Article, Italy
Skeptical Inquirer, Article, USA
Pool Magazine, Article, Italy
Rue Morgue Magazine, Article and Interview, Canada
Lithuanian Playboy, Article and Interview, Lithuania
Ukrainian Playboy, Article and Interview, Ukraine
Cafe Magazine, Article and Interview, Sweden
Exit, Art Publication, Spain
Warp Magazine, Article and Interview, Mexico
Quo Science Magazine, Article, Spain
Tailwind Magazine, Article, Turkey
Haunted Attraction Magazine, Article, USA
XFUNS Magazine, Article and Interview, Taiwan
Quo Arts and Culture Magazine, Article, Mexico
Decibel Magazine, Online Article and Interview, USA
ABC News, Online Article and Interview, Australia
The Atlantic, Online Article, USA
LoDown Magazine, Article and Interview, Germany
Virus Horror Magazine, Article and Interview, Germany
Lamono Magazine, Article and Interview, Spain
Russian Playboy, Article and Interview, Russia
AfterCapture Magazine, Article and Interview, USA
Key Fashion Magazine, Article and Interview, Brazil
Soul Magazine, Article and Interview, Greece