Like a magnet, there’s something about the art of Joshua Hoffine that forbids me from pulling away. I’ve long been drawn to the nexus of the beautiful and grotesque, that sweet spot where the sacred and profane come to dance in the light of the silver moon, and so naturally, I’m drawn to the “horror photography” of the Missouri-based Hoffine. His prints manage to be equal parts disturbing, threatening and alluring and I don’t know whether to run away screaming or bask in their eerie golden glow.
Hoffman’s works are highly cinematic, and often recall the jittery childhood nightmares familiar from fairy tales — and, indeed, on both his site and Facebook fan page, the photographer both makes mention of classic stories as inspiration, and admits he stages his shoots as though he were filming a movie. That gives his work a richness and depth, and each photo feels like a story, albeit one straight from a Brothers Grimm-addled child’s bad dreams.
Speaking of children, Hoffine often uses the little buggers (usually his own) in his sumptuously decaying visual masterpieces, and that may turn some folk off. On his site, Hoffine says that he wanted to “depict an amoral world where purity and innocence are under constant threat. Like fairy tales, these photographs function as cautionary metaphors about the potential dangers of the world.” Its that sense of vulnerability that truly gives the pictures their impact. The wolves, monsters and threatening ghouls seem much more…visceral when paired with a young child, and take on more of a dark fantasy element, a grander, more supernatural bent. Its as if the boogeyman is real, breaking his way into world, ready to pounce when we are at our most unguarded.
Hoffine’s photographs are ravishing and evocative works of visual horror art, and naturally I’m in all sorts of crazy love with them. The best part is, prints are available on his website, and are relatively affordable ($25 for a 8.5X11″ and $100 for a 13X13″), and you can bet your derriere that if I had more moola I’d be plastering my walls with these things. Joshua Hoffine scratches the sweet spot where the putrid meets the divine, and all horror fans, or fans of dark art in general, would do well to at least check out his work over at JoshuaHoffine.com.