Fear Factor


©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

“The only thing we have to fear is….” is monster light. Well, not really…but in an experiment that shows that fear is in the eye of the beholder, I was sent to the Garfield Park Conservatory on a previous Halloween to shoot pictures of plants, but in a scary way. It sounded ridiculous, but it worked fearfully well. Keep your light down below and you can make most things scary. I know a photographer who went to a meeting of Republicans and did just that. No joke. In this case, it worked by putting the light above, creating a virtual nose and deep eye sockets.  This picture, with its ominous Hellraiser overtones,  lingers in my memory as an example of how easy it can be to manipulate the fear impulse that is normally reserved for personal survival.  Of course, having been scarred by the film “Trilogy of Terror” when I was a child, I know that impulse can be hair-trigger depending on one’s personal movie-watching history…But hey, it’s just a plant.

Alex Garcia

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