The Zombie Stalker series adds to my ongoing exploration of light and color. For the first time ever, I have taken a single image and manipulated it with multiple color and texture variations.
The original photo features my daughter in a very non-scary location. Upon seeing the lighting, we agreed that it would make a good location for a zombie movie. We are both fans of the zombie horror genre, so we shot a few pictures together.
Most of the shots were okay, nothing special. I’ll share those at some point. But this one always appealed to me. It had a special visual language that fit with the horror theme.
I’m a comic book writer, so I spend a lot of time looking at comic book art. One of the concepts in comic art is the silhouette. When creating a character in silhouette, it’s advisable to make stretch the limbs out a bit to clarify the stance and the pose. You want to provide enough visual data that the reader can tell what’s happening with the visual story.
Is the character afraid or brave? Running or chasing? Flying or falling? Confident or unsure?
That’s one of the things I liked about this shot. My daughter understood the visual language of zombie motion. She rolled her shoulders and legs in a way that provided the visual cues of horror.
The light glinting from over her shoulder provides a layer of realism. If you were watching a zombie approach, you wouldn’t have the time to shield your eyes from the light. You’d be looking to escape.
And finally the colors. I played with this image a lot. I was trying to find a single or double tone that would enhance the image. Unlike many of my other images, I wasn’t seeking beauty, but rather discomfort. Layer after layer, I tried to find the voice in this photo.
I realized that there is no single voice. It’s just a moment of relatable horror. It’s not locked into a single color scheme. If you were faced with a zombie stalking you, colors and light would blur. Adrenaline. Fight or flight. Your survival would depend on your ability to focus on action.
For fun, here’s a contact sheet of all of the Zombie Stalkers together.
I hope you enjoy this experiment. I’m making these available as NFTs on OpenSea as part of the Zombie Stalker collection. It’s the first time I’m trying something like this, so let me know what you think.