When I was checking out the Women in Horror Recognition Month web site, I came across Amanda Norman, an up-and-coming Gothic/Horror photographer from the UK. I was instantly lured in by her horror portraits which captured fierce expressions accentuated by stark contrasting of the subject and a well-executed use of black negative space. Through her photography, it’s obvious that Amanda is more than superficially familiar with early 20th century Silent Horror and Hammer Horror films – she’s directly inspired by them.
Amanda took some time to answer a few questions for Gores Truly about herself and her art.
Self Portrait as her Favorite Creature of the Night: The Vampire
GT: What initially sparked your interest in Gothic & Horror photography?
AMANDA: As a child I lived by the coast and I used to frequently visit a small village churchyard that sat overlooking a bay. Unfortunately for me, I had to move away under dreadful circumstances and I’ve always had a yearning to return home, but unless I become rich, it will never happen. Therefore on one of my visits, I took some photographs so that I could cherish the emotions the graveyard provoked in me and when I got home, they were totally flat and boring. So on my next visit, I had to ensure that I would capture the atmosphere and the emotions that I remember so well. This is what sparked my interest in photography as anyone can take a photograph, but the challenge is creating atmosphere.
GT: I think you do a spectacular job in creating your desired atmospheres through your photography. Your use of negative space and lighting to capture your subjects in black and white is incredible. What/who are your horrific muses and inspirations?
AMANDA: My inspirations come from the old Gothic horror films long before CGI effects and remake after remake. Old films relied on music and lighting to create atmosphere and shocks. The iconic image of Nosferatu’s long and stretching shadow slowly climbing the stairs is the perfect example of lighting effects. Photographs of Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff, and Bela Lugosi portraying their characters always stuck in my mind as they were strange and mesmerising to me as a child. Vincent Price always freaked me out with his expressions and acting style. He was such a wonderful actor and should never be forgotten.
GT: Who are some of your favorite artists?
AMANDA: I love the work of Salvador Dali as you can spend hours looking at one of his images and go on seeing something new. I also love the dark photography of Simon Marsden as his subjects are pretty much similar to mine, but he photographs a lot of his images using infrared for added effect.
AMANDA: Make a living from it!
On a serious note, I want my photography to provoke thought and imagination and for viewers to get lost in my world for a short while.
I would love for people to take more of an interest in their local graveyards and cemeteries as a lot of these are falling to ruin due to the costs of maintaining the memorials. Some of the deceased have no living relatives or they are so far removed, why should they burden the cost of upkeep? There are so many stories, memories and information that lie waiting to be discovered by new keen eyes in these Gardens of Death, and I would love for my photography to inspire people to go out and find it. It bothers me a lot when I see abandoned graves and sometimes it makes me wonder if there is any point in being buried anymore as I’m a bit of a romantic at heart. I imagine my funeral plot to last an eternity for future people to walk by and be intrigued by my final legacy, not to walk past without a care in the world.
GT: Do you have a favorite horror villain or monster?
AMANDA: I love vampires, but not the modern teenage sparkling high school vampire of today. I can’t abide this type of vampire at all simply because I’m an adult. They’re perfect for teenagers I suppose, but not for me. To me, vampires are dark, sensual and a creature to be feared of due to their control over us. I love the vampire that Hammer Horror portrayed so well and of course my favourite vampire of all time is Christopher Lee’s Dracula. The vampires of True Blood are good as well and keep me entertained, especially Eric who is HOT!
Ha! So true — trust me — you’re not alone with those vampire-beliefs. In fact, it’s safe to say that none of the MurderHers here support the notion of glittering-tween-obsessed “vampires.”
. . . And Eric certainly is hot . . . Amanda, your work is simply stunning and I believe that you successfully capture the eerie beauty of your subjects and also convey the haunting and dark atmospheres in your photography! I love how specific your style is and hope that you continue pursuing your artistic passions for Gothic Horror!
Horror photographs, graveyard photographs, cemetery photographs, dark photography and her Gothic photography can be purchased via the gallery at Amanda’s website: