Ossian Brown - Haunted Air (4 stars)

Ossian Brown - Haunted Air

Former member of Coil has intense fascination with spooky Americana

(Jonathan Cape)

Former member of Coil, Ossian Brown, clearly has an intense fascination with spooky Americana, having collected up these images of anonymous people posing for snaps around Hallowe’en between 1875 and 1955. The sepia tone adds an extra layer of menace while the masks are rough and raw; there are a fair number of blacked-up faces and costumes are simple or complicated but always effective: this is a world away from those who’ll just stick on a Jedward mask to head off trick or treatin’.

In mainly rural settings, there are junior witches, fallen angels and tiny gargoyles, posing on porches, beside picket fences or in the woods. David Lynch provides a foreword in which he informs us that he had a coffee and cigarette while deciding he liked these photos very much, while a prologue from Geoff Cox offers a more atmospheric and literate portrait of the unsettling images within.

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