WPC: Creepiness in Life and Art

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.–Stephen King

I’m not a person who loves horror films or is enthralled by the macabre.  In fact, I still vividly remember a visit many years ago to a dissection lab at Downstate Medical Center.   My boyfriend who was studying nursing there took me on an impromptu tour.  Let me also add a significant detail–we went immediately after lunch.  Those decomposing corpses will be forever imprinted in my memory with a mixture of fascination and horror.  (And yes, I married that nursing school student.  Love does conquer all.)

So, for this week’s photo challenge, here’s my definition of  “creepy” in 4 shots.

Image #1:  Imagine my surprise when I saw a pair of mismatched eyes staring at me when I got off the subway at the Chambers Street stop in New York.  Isn’t it disturbing that the eye color and the shape don’t match?

Chambers Street Subway Stop, Shot with a Samsung Galaxy S5

Chambers Street Subway Stop, Shot with a Samsung Galaxy S5

Image #2:  I was walking through the Chicago Cultural Center and thought I had stumbled on a crime scene.  The victim’s body was outlined on the floor and a drawing of the dead person was hanging on the wall.  Even the pattern of plants and trees on the window shades added to the creepiness.   But, then I learned that this “room” was in fact an installation by two artists, Miller and Shellabarger, from their exhibit  “Again Gone.”  Their artwork is inspired by acts of violence and their aftermath.

Scene of the Crime. Art installation at the Chicago Cultural Center. Shot with a Canon 40D.

Scene of the Crime. Art installation at the Chicago Cultural Center. Shot with a Canon 40D.

Image #3:  This statue stopped me in my tracks earlier this week.  Isn’t it unsettling that the female figure is grasping the severed head so casually?  This statue is currently on display at the “Dionysos Unmasked” exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Portable Satyr. The Art Institute of Chicago. Dionynus Exhibit. Shot with a Canon 70D.

The Portable Satyr. The Art Institute of Chicago. Dionysos Exhibit. Shot with a Canon 70D.

Image #4: And finally, from the same exhibit, here is a close up of a satyr, who cavorted with Dioynsos, the Greek god of wine.  Dioynsos was also honored by the Romans, who renamed him Bacchus and gave us the word bacchanalia–a perfect descriptor for a drunken orgy.  Note the satyr’s pointed ears and massive, furrowed brow, as well as the child’s hand.  Creepy, aren’t they?

Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, c. 1st century A.D. Restorations by Alessandro Algardi, 1628. Anonymous loan.

Photo of a Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, c. 1st century A.D.

Are any of these photos “creepy” to you too?  Which one?

Have a lovely (and not creepy) week, everyone!   Do you like horror films and the macabre?  Or, are you like me and prefer to keep creepy things in the smallest possible corner of your mind and in your life?

18 replies »

    • They are unnerving…something about them being mismatched is unsettling. I often wonder why that subway stop has these mosaics. Maybe they are Masonic? They remind me of the eyes on the American dollar bill.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very true, Sally. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms, but it is a different lens we can use to view the world. It draws on our fears and fascination with the absurd, I suppose!


    • Patti, I got the Rebel T6s and it’s a small 70D! I really like it. I also read all the reviews of the new Canon STM lenses; they have excellent reviews; both the 18-135 STM and the 55-250mm STM. I purchased the 55-250mm STM and it arrives today. I needed a mid range zoom and one that works with Canon Movie Servo, which is the AF in movie mode! Only the STM lenses do it! They are all kit lenses too, but have been improved tremendously. I’ll let you know! These STM lenses take advantage of the new features the Canon 70D has.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ohh…that sounds wonderful! Let me know how you like it. I was just thinking about a mid range zoom for my next purchase. What’s the f-stop?


      • F/4-5.6, which means that only from 55-63mm it will open to f/4 (according to a chart), so they are “slow” lenses, but image quality has definitely improved. I’ll let you know. I was on the verge of getting the 70-300 IS L lens, which is pricey, heavy, and also slow. So I decided to go with $300 lens. I already own two L lenses, one is the monster 100-400 L IS which I got 5 years ago; the other is the 70-200 f/4 IS L, which is good, but is not STM. The STM is made to compliment these new cameras.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, definitely, will let you know. You’d be amazed how much weight you take off with the cheaper lenses. The other one is the Tokina 18-300mm, but I was looking for the STM feature so I had to get the Canon.


  2. For me, “Dionysos Unmasked” is the most macabre, I guess it’s because I think of “John the Baptist” also. Also the “Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos’ is quite striking. How fortunate that you live in Chicago! I normally don’t like macabre subject matter; yet it’s a form of artistic expression, so I don’t avoid it either.


  3. Hi Maria. Yes, I agree with you about the macabre. It is a form of artistic expression with a very old history, so I respect it too especially if it is done artistically! I guess that’s why I like the Coen brothers films and some of Tim Burton’s work. We live a few hours away from Chicago, but we visit there often to see our son.


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