One year ago, the haunted house called Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada scored a major marketing win after its candid photographs of horrified guests went viral online. With Halloween 2012 only a week away, Jakob Schiller over at Wired caught up with the house’s marketing director Vee Popat for the inside scoop of how the images are shot:
At one point in the attraction [...] the groups come to a spot where they trigger a Nikon D80 camera and flash at the exact moment where they encounter some unknown fright that is so scary it provokes grown men to hide behind their wives and friends to jump into each other’s arms.
The idea for the photos was inspired by photos of people yelling as they ride rollercoasters. Popat says the owner used to actually sit in the haunted house and take the photos himself. Just like amusement parks, attendees at Nightmares can purchase their photos after they’ve recovered from the excitement and the “best of” photos circulate on monitors in the lobby.
Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada, which calls itself the scariest haunted house in North America, has an automatic camera set up at one particularly horrifying point in the house. The camera takes a photograph of visitors at precisely the moment when sheer terror reaches their brain, and the resulting expressions are hilarious.
Sling Shot is a concept camera that’s designed to capture expressions of fear on people’s faces. It’s shaped like a slingshot, and the camera’s shutter release is the elastic band: pretend like you’re about to shoot the slingshot and the camera snaps a photo. It could make for a fun gag camera, and luckily it’s nowhere near as morbid as this 1938 revolver camera.
Candid Camera with a Sling [Yanko Design]
This past Saturday, over 2,000 professional and amateur photographers gathered at Trafalgar Square in London to protest recent cases of anti-terrorism laws being used to stop public photography. The protest, organized by the group I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist!, was against section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows officers to stop and search photographers without needing any “suspicion” if the photography is occurring within certain areas.
After a number of high-profile incidents in which photographers — some award-winning — were stopped, searched, and even detained, memos have been circulated among police forces advising them to exercise more discretion in their duties:
Whilst we must remain vigilant at all times in dealing with suspicious behaviour, staff must also be clear that:
- there is no restriction on people taking photographs in public places or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances
- there is no prohibition on photographing front-line uniform staff
- the act of taking a photograph in itself is not usually sufficient to carry out a stop.
Unless there is a very good reason, people taking photographs should not be stopped.
Officers should be reminded that it is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs of a public building and use of cameras by the public does not ordinarily permit use of stop and search powers.
However, stories of officers hindering photographers’ work continue to surface, prompting photographers and groups to step up their calls for more leniency and freedom to photograph without being confronted.
Were you at the protest? Have you been stopped and searched in the UK? If so, we’d like to hear from you in the comments!
Image credit: Photographs by Rion Nakaya and used with permission.