Illustration of FEAR in Photography

by Editor Thomas Thomopoulos 


'Pork Chops' by Sam Fagan


I'm not going to define fear. It is an emotion that is too rich to pretend that it can be defined in a few lines. But if I make the link between fear and photography, I can already delimit fear as a subject of illustration.

A text lets the inner image express itself freely, while a photograph already delimits the emotion of the fear you want to communicate.

Telling a scary story has no limits.

'Horror stories' by Irina Kuznetsova

After all, when you read a text, you don't see an image, you imagine it. However, it is like not seeing anything, which can already be the beginning of fear.


'Fear of the future' by FATHI ALDARWISH

A fear that can suffocate by depriving us of one of our senses.


'Sextus sensus' by Angelina Goncharova

If we talk about photography and fear, it is not only communicating fear, but above all it is materializing fear through an image.

To tame fear it is illustrated by an image, which gives it a limit and prevents that the unknown becomes its expression.

A scary forest?

Of course, it is materialized by a dark forest.


'Capela forest' by Julien Oncete

A shadow?
Yes, a beautiful illustration of what is frightening too.


'Coma' by Sebastien DEL GROSSO

The night?
Unlike light, darkness is frightening and is probably one of the best illustrations of fear.


'Night Road' by Patrick Foto

Communicating fear is pretentious. There is no fear, there are only fears. 

However, two categories can probably be attached to the illustration of fear.
There is an image of a fear that we are experiencing.
Or there is the one of a fear that is put on display.
You can choose.
Do you prefer the experience of fear or the spectacle of fear?

Photography has undeniably made it possible to freeze in time the fear we experience.

A sudden fall that scares us?


'No options left' by Tom Baetsen –

Fear of facing an insurmountable obstacle?


'WTF?' by Giaco

Fear of the unknown?


'The only thing we have to fear...' by Knartist

An icy fear?


'Warmth' by Piet Flour

We mostly illustrate fear by making a spectacle of it through the image.
It seems that it has no limits, but in reality, it allows us to give a border to fear by fixing it on a well-defined and real support.
This kills the imagination that can be created by the emotion of fear. Reality makes us live a fear that we cannot contain, while the imagination, leaves us the free field to express it in a defined space.

Fear in 'spectacle' is about breaking the beauty of our world. It's about showing off what's horrible.

Disfigure a child?


'Sleep with one eye open' by Toni Minchev

Disfigure a face?


'Lies lies lies lies MORE lies' by Federico Bebber

A scary place?


'FEAR' by Hornet Marcel-Alexandru

Something scary?


'Oradour-Sur-Glane.....Les cris' by PUGET Kevin

'fixed gaze' by Fulvio Pellegrini

A scary staging?


'Last stop' by Marius Noreger

But also, to stage a female body? A violated beauty?


'Poltergeist' by Vojislav Markovic

'Fear' by Dmitry Laudin

Finally, we like to crush fear on our very real bodies.
It is probably the best way to express fear through photography.
It is necessary to keep it human and to materialize it through the body. 
The best way to communicate fear is without any doubt, the expression on a face.

To recognize fear is to express it with your face and communicate it with others.
In fact, photographing fear on a face is like depriving it of its expression.
We take its soul away.

A lonely, lost eye?


'Sensus videndi' by Angelina Goncharova

A face deprived of its eyes?


'Scream' by Angelina Goncharova

An abused female eye?


'shackles of fear' by heru agustiana

A tetanized face?


'The pain that screams' by Jackson Carvalho

Or more simply, an expression stolen by a stranger?


'pssst' by Ronny Engelmann

The deprivation of facial expression gives an image deprived of our being, as if the worst thing that could happen to us was to live without being able to live. To live without being able to love or exist.

Fear is about curling up ourselves, hiding ourselves, avoiding to be tetanized by lockjaw.

We take a fetal position.


'Box of Life : Fear' by Thanakorn Chai Telan

We lean forward.


'What's in your mind...' by hilde van hove

We hide far away in a dark place.


'Fear' by Maurizio Vicedomini

We only leave visible our tight back between our hands.


'Fear of Darkness' by Ruslan Bolgov (Axe)

And finally, perhaps the worst thing would be to be afraid of ourselves as if we were living in a soul that is unknown to us.


'Fearful of himself' by Filiberto Galli

To conclude, if one day you are really facing fear, the best advice is to run away, far away, as far as you can to avoid it and to keep it only as a scary but sweet spectacle ;-)


'Fear' by Martin Marcisovsky


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