Haunted Houses and Car Crashes With Corinne May Botz

The Photo Blog
Oct. 25 2012 7:00 AM

Just Try To Feel Safe: Haunted Houses and Car Crashes With Corinne May Botz

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Boarded-Up House, Westport, Mass.
Boarded-Up House, Westport, Mass.

Corinne May Botz.

Murder, crime scenes, the supernatural, agoraphobia, and car crashes. The work of Corinne May Botz might seem a little creepy at first, but it’s really about telling a story.

El Rancho, Las Vegas, Nevada
El Rancho, Las Vegas, Nevada

Corinne May Botz.

Above all, Botz’s work is about recording an event (visually and at times orally) and inviting the viewer to consider a narrative, sometimes provided, other times imagined. In that sense, Botz is a storyteller, albeit the kind who invites her audience to participate in the discussion. Think forensic mixed with the supernatural.

Currently on display at Alice Austen House in Staten Island, New York, is Botz’s project Haunted Houses (she published a book with the same title with the Monacelli Press, 2010).

Private Residence, Orange County, New York
Private Residence, Orange County, New York

Corinne May Botz.

Over a period of about 10 years, Botz visited about 100 haunted sites throughout the United States. Because her camera was capable of recording only the visible, Botz’s images invite the viewer to imagine exactly what they aren’t seeing. The result, according to Botz, “provides a unique way of understanding our relationship to the spaces we inhabit, and reflects romantic and dystopian notions of the domestic realm.”

La Posada, Winslow, Ariz.
La Posada, Winslow, Ariz.

Corinne May Botz.

Botz also made a vinyl record of stories she collected from people who lived, worked, or were neighbors of the haunted properties. This Saturday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m., you can meet Botz, who will be on hand at the exhibition to share some of the stories—a great way to get into the Halloween spirit.

Repository (through window)
Repository (through window)

Corinne May Botz.

Moving from the haunted to the haunting, Botz’s current project keeps her closer to home—specifically, on the block she shares with two tow truck companies. The result, Repository, focuses on objects left in cars that have been involved in accidents. The pictures memorialize the objects and spaces, a common thread of Botz’s work.

Repository (tow me)
Repository (tow me)

Corinne May Botz.

“The vehicles also relate to my other projects in that they are violated safe spaces,” says Botz. “The objects—talisman, books, food container, and other personal objects—suggest narratives concerning the absent owners.”

Repository (book)
Repository (book)

Corinne May Botz.

Repository (snow)
Repository (snow)

Corinne May Botz.

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