Women in Horror Recognition Month is all about celebrating the badass women who work in the various industries in the dark genre as well as the women who love it. It’s about empowerment and being the ones in charge of the subject matter and perspective instead of the ones being forcefully subjected to it and degraded by it. And we can certainly produce provocative works that walk the line of controversy while still maintaining artistic integrity- which is why I’m into April A Taylor’s killer art.
Some of April A Taylor’s photography has been called violent, too disturbing, and controversial. And that’s exactly what drew me into her photography – specifically a set called Mine which I find particularly unnerving. Even though her victim in this set is a female and the killer is a very masculine man, there’s more to it than your typical ‘helpless-chick-gets-slashed-to-death-by-serial-killer’ cliché. April A Taylor invites viewers to read deeper into her works as mini narratives and even provides more descriptions on her Facebook fan page for specific sets. But check out her work and form your own interpretations!
GT: What sparked your interest in Horror?
APRIL: I’ve been interested in horror from a very young age. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video came out when I was 6 years old and the moment I saw it I fell in love with zombies. Shortly thereafter I began watching all of the old Universal and Hammer films which quickly led to me watching slasher movies, particularly A Nightmare on Elm Street. When all of my friends had posters on their walls from teen magazines I had posters of Freddy Krueger on mine. My love for horror was already very developed, but as soon as I stumbled across Clive Barker’s Books of Blood series in a local bookstore in the mid to late 80’s, horror became one of the most prevalent and important things in my life.
GT: I noticed you do quite a few bloody shoots, what’s your favorite style of Horror to photograph?
APRIL: Although I love playing with fake blood for a living, I never shoot gore just for the sake of gore. Each of my photographs have a dual meaning; the basic horror aspects that can be seen on the surface and the back story which is typically comprised of a societal commentary. Having said that, my favorite style of horror to shoot is that which allows me to use my lens to showcase the dark side of humanity. Lots of blood is a nice bonus but isn’t a prerequisite.
GT: What are some of your horrific inspirations and muses?
APRIL: Clive Barker inspires me because he is uncompromising in his vision and has the courage to be who he really is. The city of Detroit inspires me because of all of the abandoned buildings and the societal implications of the current state of the city. The model I’ve worked with the most (Shannon Waite) has inspired several aspects of multiple shoots, including the set, “She’s Dead,” which is based on a poem that she wrote. I’m also inspired by music, specific moments of cinematography within horror films, the creative interaction that I have with various models, friends, fans, etc.
GT: Do you pursue any other forms of art or is photography it?
APRIL: Photography is my main creative outlet but I also write horror novels & short stories and I play multiple instruments. Eventually I’d like to branch out into film-making as well, which would be a perfect fit as I run my photo sets much like a film set. Instead of having my models hold specific poses, I typically have them act out the scenes that are being captured and it leads to a much more realistic-looking result.
GT: Who are your favorite artists?
APRIL:I have many, many favorite artists but just to name a few –Chris Mars, Clive Barker, Matt Busch, and Jackson Pollock.
GT: Do you have a favorite Horror villain/monster?
APRIL: It’s difficult to pick just one… I’ve been a fan of Freddy Krueger since early childhood, so in some ways he’s my sentimental favorite (although I actually prefer the character of Nancy Thompson). Pinhead is also a favorite as he’s the aristocrat of horror villains and showcases that being evil does not mean that one must be unrefined and spend a lot of time screaming and lurking about. As to standard monsters/villains, two of my favorites are zombies and werewolves. Zombies are a particularly interesting villain as they are so often used to make specific comments about society as a whole. Werewolves are a lot of fun because they can be completely fierce and primal at night but live a mostly normal life during the day. Of all of the standard monster templates, werewolves have the best ability to blend into daily life and there’s something very intriguing about that.
GT: What message(s) do you hope to convey through your photography?
APRIL: I feel that the purpose of art is to give people an emotional response, so for the good or the bad, that’s what I aim to do with each of my photographs. I also seek to convey the darkness in human nature by shedding a very vivid light on some of the horrible things that we do to each other. For example, Always Change Your Locks (A Cautionary Tale), while being a bit of a homage to the classic film Psycho, was more influenced by a very real and very tragic news story I heard several years ago about a murder that was dubbed a “crime of passion.” Each photo has a social commentary attached to it, but I don’t typically explain what that commentary is unless asked as I prefer instead to let the viewer take from each photo what they will.
Thank you, April! The MurderHers hope you continue to explore the various facets of horror in your photography! Perhaps one day we can work with you and create some gruesomely glamorous shots!
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/aprilataylorphotography