Since I’m big on both a) creepypastas and b) misleading the public, here are my attempts at some “real live GHOST!!!1111!!!1!” shots. It’s so damn easy to trick the naked eye – I mean, we’re programmed to find faces in just about anything. But it’s kind of amazing to see just how otherworldly you can get with just a point-and-shoot and some lanterns.
This past weekend I visited my godparents’ retreat in Wolcott. This year marks my eighteenth summer camping there, and it’s long felt like home to me. It is ragged, pristine, spectacular isolation. It’s a place where you can’t help but hear yourself think, and I, for all the noise I pack into my poor obsessive-compulsive mind, always benefit from that.
My godparents, Bill and Betsy (which may go down as the most “olde-Vermont” couple names ever), bought the land twenty-something years ago in hopes of starting a Christmas tree farm. I don’t know the exact turn of events that made them break ground for a cabin instead and let the evergreens grow twenty feet tall, but I am glad they occurred.
For this shoot, I wore an antique-store dress I bought to flip on Etsy but couldn’t resist a few photos in first. It has no tag; the stitching reveals it’s homemade. I’d place it in the 1930s, maaaaybe the ’40s for someone with a lot of rations saved up. It’s so soft (remarkably well preserved) and fits like it was made for me.
You know how I like my queering, though. My original concept was a basic ’30s-housewife shoot in the rustic, candlelit cabin, but it soon evolved into a mishmash of a few different themes. I decided to go for a pop of mod color and sharp angles with my hair and makeup to contrast the wistful ’30s. I like that it made the look more challenging and added another layer to my housewife character. I also really love images with obvious flaws or inconsistencies that are not addressed. It jars the eye, adds a dash of absurdity, and ultimately leaves viewers to fill in the gaps. I like my art a little hard on the brain.
Seeing the photos on my computer screen revealed another layer. The light in the ones I liked best had a distinctly antiquated, almost eerie, tinge to it. Inspired, I ‘shopped the pictures and upped the exposure to suggest a full-on ghost vibe. Nothing particularly unique about that, especially coming from me, but I’m enchanted by the idea that you can’t tell exactly when my ghost is from, what with her Depression dress and fluorescent mod hair. Ambiguity is one of my favorite themes. It’s its own kind of artifice.
There’s something lovely about a ghost in broad daylight, unafraid of the sun.
This one reminds me of an old Dutch painting.
I edited some of the furniture shots just a little overbright, with just a little more oomph to sit up and pay attention to than the rest of the photos. I consider over-sharp light just as spine-tingling an aesthetic as under-sharp. It’s pregnant somehow.
I find mirror shots so spooky.
True story: I’ve had this lifelong fear of my reflection winking at me. If I have to pee past midnight, I book it to the bathroom while trying to avoid a glimpse of myself in any unshaded windows.
Is it Halloween yet?
I found this one so deliciously absurd. Anyone else see it?
Frolicking in a pretty dress between gravestones under a canopy of flowers encompasses, like, four of my favorite things. All I need now is a bowl of pad Thai and a few eyeballs.
Copyright Brent Gould 2013. Many more to come as I receive them.
I’m a puddle. Or a mushroom.
“Antebellum” is the word that comes to mind.
Bonus pictures of my boyfriend, who I realized yesterday is basically a dead ringer for Inigo Montoya.
Those were taken on a totally normal day, by the way. He loves dressing up as much as I do.
If there’s one thing I know in this world, it’s that you – whoever you are – do not love ghoulies and ghosties and all manner of creepy-crawlies as much as my boyfriend and I do. We are hard. core. We do work at competing haunted houses, after all.
Yesterday was National Paranormal Day. In honor of the auspicious occasion, we attended a special-edition Queen City Ghostwalk. (I am such a goddamn Thea Lewis fangirl.) And, of course, I dressed the hell up. Less than six months until Halloween, you know. Time to start celebrating!
I couldn’t find my bloody-skeleton hair clips, and I hated everything for a few minutes.
“Vermont Spirits Detective Agency: Private Eye for Those Who’ve Died”
A couple Octobers ago, I attended a demonstration by VT Spirits, at which they went over some of their techniques and played footage from houses they’ve successfully exorcised. Now, I’ll say straight up that I’m not sure what I believe. As a religion major, I’ve found it most useful to keep my mouth shut and maintain agnosticism about spiritual matters. I’ve also found that my personal opinions on paranormal matters have absolutely no bearing on my ability to enjoy them. I appreciate the ability of a good ghost story to drag me out of my world and into its own. Does it matter if it really happened? That seems incidental to me.
Anyway, the point of this story is that I won a t-shirt and a book about haunted Burlington hotspots in the nightly raffle, and that incited my fangirl obsession with Thea Lewis. I wore that very shirt last night in hopes that she would remember me. She did. I squeed. Boyfriend and I lingered after the tour to talk to her, and I was doing my very best to stay collected.
T-shirt: Raffle Skirt & Necklaces: Old Gold Skull Pendant: Battery Street Jeans Shoes: Gaiam Gloves: Gifted