With Halloween rapidly approaching, we reached out to PhotoDune author Ron Sumners and asked him if he could share with us the story behind the horrific zombie imagery he has been uploading recently. And what a surprisingly gruesome back-story he shared…
I love photography. It is an addiction that will never be satisfied no matter how much or how frequently I produce. My interests are hugely diverse, leaning towards the dark and odd. I am self-taught and have been enjoying the capture of pretty pictures for more then 20 years, obviously starting with film and the lonely dark hours of exposing myself under a single red light.
Not one of my friends or family would smear on the makeup and grunt towards the camera, so I mastered the self-timer on my Pentax 645D and focused the lens on my hideous undead face. Earlier in the day, my two-year-old son and I went for a long walk around the streets by our home in Switzerland. It had been raining and the ground had become ideal to augment my zombie apparel.
My wee boy dragged a pair of worn jeans and a frilly white shirt behind him through the mud and puddles of the roads while neighbors looked on with curiosity. Back inside we headed to the fridge and grabbed the previous night’s spaghetti dinner and violently bashed and smudged the remaining tomato sauce deep into the fibers of my tattered and dirt-caked dress shirt.
I’ve always loved the horror film genre, especially all the zombie apocalypse themes, and it was a challenge to produce these horrific self-portraits while my in-laws, wife and son watched with shock and bewilderment while I growled and clawed at the camera. ‘My poor in-laws’, I thought, while the strobes fired, lighting up my grotesque features and the dark regions of the cold dark cob-webbed barn I was standing in.
My wife’s parents own the ancient barn that was built in the 1800’s and it was the perfect backdrop for my obsession of horror-related imagery that I crave to do. It was cold, damp, dusty, and smelled like dead slimy leaves from seasons ago. I was in my glory, except for the worries of what my in-laws were thinking.
With blood oozing and sputtering from my gaping mouth, my relatives, who aren’t familiar with horror movies or what the walking dead are, couldn’t hide the uneasy looks that was growing on their faces. A couple hours went by and my father-in-law stepped into the barn past the cobwebs, and started to give me a bit of direction, and to my surprise, helped with my evil brain-hungry flesh-eating poses.
I finished the shoot and we all went back inside the warm house and had cookies and milk.