Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.
“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”
Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.
According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.
To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:
“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”
Finnish photographer Perttu Saska has created this unsettling series of Jakarta street monkey photographs titled “A Kind Of You.” These monkeys are captured as they are: dressed in children’s clothes and wearing doll faces, their chains often visible. Apparently, training and dressing monkeys to act like humans to ask for money is an Asian tradition – one that has escalated to dire conditions and circumstance for these poor creatures.
Thankfully, upon searching for more information about these monkeys and this tradition, I stumbled across a BBC article published yesterday that cites the removal of the first 11 out of 350 monkeys from Jakarta streets. They have been quarantined where they will likely remain for a few months before they can be released back into the wild. Since 2009, animal rights activists have been campaigning against this cruel tradition, and hope that this initial removal will set the stage for complete banishment of this cruel practice.
Of his series, Saska writes, “Modern city culture has turned the old tradition in to eerie and haunting act of cruel street theatre where animals become something else, never able to reach our expectations.” With the awareness created by people like Saska and animal rights activists, these Indonesian monkeys hopefully won’t have to be subjected to the unreasonable expectations of their human handlers any longer. (via ufunk)