Want to explore abandoned houses and lonely graves? Discover creepy places with tips from these six artists as they share their secrets for finding and photographing locations that haunt the senses.
Photography and superstition share a long history, dating all the way back to the “spirit photography” craze of the 19th century. While the “ghosts” that appeared in early camera experiments were in fact merely the results of long exposures, these eerie images were quite popular throughout the second half of the 1800s; many of them were widely published or sold as stereocards. And more than a century later, we still enjoy a good spooky photo.
In honor of the Halloween season, we put together this collection of spine-chilling photographs. We asked six Shutterstock contributors to tell us about the creepiest places they’ve visited, and they shared stories from around the world. While none of them spotted any “ghosts,” their images certainly raised the hair on the backs of our necks. Read on if you dare.
1. “You have to wait for nature to give you the perfect conditions.”
Image by andreiuc88. Gear: Nikon D7200 camera, Sigma 10-20mm lens. Settings: Focal length 18mm; exposure 1/80 sec; f5.6; ISO 200.
What’s the story behind this photo?
I have been exploring a specific forest and photographing it for the past ten years. I live in the northwestern part of Transylvania, Romania, so there were always mysterious legends and myths about forests. That helps me set the mood in my mind.
On early autumn mornings, I go out and look at the mountain where this forest is. On this particular morning, it was colder than usual, and the rain was pouring. The whole mountain was shrouded in fog, and I knew it was a great day for mysterious forest photos. I always go out photographing with my brother, so we got our equipment and drove to the forest together.
As we entered the dark woods, I felt like I was in a surreal world with a haunting silence, full of mystery and wonder. After walking and taking photos for some time, we got to a place that has these old, ancient trees with twisted branches. This added to the spooky atmosphere and created a scary scene. I told my brother to walk between the trees, and I took this photo.
The light coming from the front transformed the trees into silhouettes, and the light was pretty dim, so it almost looks like a night photo. I love the surreal, dark mood and the overall atmosphere.