HALLOWEEN IN THE SUBURBS
Halloween is fun to dress up for. Every year I enjoy seeing the creativity that goes into the costumes, from store bought to homemade. It’s always interesting to see the costumes people choose. I decided to set up in my driveway and make portraits of people as they pass by my house. In the first year of this project, my neighbors were a little leery of the strange man taking photos in his drive way. After assuring them I was a professional and showing them some work, they were on board. Every child is photographed with the parent’s permission and given candy in exchange.
THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN IN AMERICA
In observing Halloween I feel it’s important to understand where it comes from. Halloween is derived from the 3 day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year (church year or Christian year) dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and the lovingly departed. During the early 1800’s there actually wasn’t much of a trace of Halloween in American because of the large Protestant presences in the Northern colonies and their strict religious beliefs. Down south however there was more of a European presence so Halloween celebrations mixed with the Indian Harvest Festivals. In the mid 1800’s hundreds nearly two million Irish immigrants fleeing potato famine came to America bringing with them their love of Halloween. They would celebrate with fire works, telling of ghost stories and various games.
In the 1900’s Halloween shifted from religious to more communal. The practice of “Guising” is where the poor during the middle ages would go around asking for food or money. Borrowing from all the English and Irish traditions children started dressing up in costumes. However, there were few references of children going door to door. Instead, Parties were often held during the season with a festive atmosphere and colorful costumes.
TRICK OR TREAT
In the 20’s and 30’s Halloween pranks started becoming a real problem. Most pranks often turned to vandalism, property damage and even physical assault. Bad kids and organizations like the KKK used Halloween as an excuse for their criminal activity. Schools and communities had to come up with a way to curb the crime so they came up with the “Trick or Treat” concept. The Boy Scouts started organizing “trick or treat” outings in local neighbors. The concept did take on controversy early on as community leaders charged that “Trick or Treat” was extortion because if homeowners didn’t comply then their homes could be targeted with a malicious trick. However the concept proved to work as more children took part in trick or treating and crime decreased. The concept of Trick or Treating began around the 1940’s growing year after year into the modern Holiday it is today.
In my head I wanted to celebrate these children and their costumes in a unique way. I wanted to photograph them the same way one would photograph a celebrity. I wanted the lighting to be very soft with soft shadows. I wanted the focus to be on them and their costumes. No additional Halloween decorations needed to distract from them. I set up a back drop and lighting in my drive way with a Macbook pro near by where I could show my work and website if need. I also had releases on hand.
TECHNICAL MUMBO JUMBO
Light Mod: Photek Softlighter II 60inch Umbrella
Release: Paper Minor Model Releases
Computer: MacBook Pro 13 inch keyed up with my website for Validation that I am a Professional.
Note: Second Profoto D1 seen in BTS Shot below had Mola Beauty dish on it but was decided against at the last second so It’s inactive while shooting.
Behind the scenes shot of the set up.
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