Mummies, zombies, vampires and a host of supernatural and not very nice beings have drifted through my consciousness since I was a kid. I was convinced that my closet door would open late at night, just as I was about to drift off to sleep, and allow monsters into the room. I saw it. Felt it. And despite my parents explanation of dreams and nightmares, I carried the knowledge along with me. There are moments when I’m suddenly superstitious. Or I sense something dark, malevolent. Perhaps rooted in the youthful mutations of my brain from watching scary movies on Chiller Theater.
Perhaps it’s no surprise I crossed paths with a vampire in college. Vampire Larry with a coffin at home to sleep in, custom tailored vampire clothes and real vampire dentures. He was also a table tennis playing friend who sold bible reference books during the summer in Oklahoma. Or maybe Nebraska.
This contact sheet of 4×5 negatives was some of my first large format work — created in 1974. I won’t identify Larry since I think he may have become a captain of industry and probably wouldn’t appreciate the trip down memory lane on the internet. I don’t really know. Haven’t seen him since 1976.
This photograph was made for his “Silent Night” Christmas card. Funny what young minds come up with. Late one night in a graveyard, three fools making vampire photos. And this long before Twilight, True Blood and the rest of the vampire life genre. Larry was a follower of Christopher Lee. Bela Lugosi was nothing.
I think about this photograph and wonder where the fear has gone. Fear of money, health, retirement, bills. Not much anymore about vampires. Or zombies.
Perhaps I need a little more of the beliefs and faith I had as a kid.