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Misty Keasler: Haunt


Thirteen themed haunted houses across America make up the imagery for Misty Keasler's Haunt, 2015-17. A driving force behind this series, which depicts interior rooms and exterior scenes, is that the subject matter takes photography to the edge of where it fails as a medium. "Photographs," Keasler explains, "are often used to document an experience, yet the experience of walking through a haunted house is completely lost in each of the still images. Also, the houses use sound, including fear frequencies, to unnerve you at a biological level; darkening effects, like lighting a house almost entirely with flashes of lightning; smells, like the very distinct smell of death, or cheap perfume-and these sensory components are missing. The tension in knowing any number of characters are waiting in the dark to jump out at you is lost as well - the immersive experience just does not translate." Where photography fails, however, is the point at which Haunt, detailing the various Baroque themes of the houses, creates another type of tension. It allows lingering looks - something that is not possible at actual haunts where visitors are shuttled through on a forced and darkened path - and the more we look, the more terrifying the scenes become.