Gregg Kopsa Personal Story of Joshua Hoffine Horror Photo Shoot

March 02, 2018

From Gregg Kopsa, supporter of the Joshua Hoffine Horror Photography Book Kickstarter campaign:

When the Kickstarter was announced I had seen some of Joshua's work before but did not really know much about him, after browsing the internet I was in love with his work. Seeing the option to do a photo shoot with him how could I pass up such a great opportunity. When I first decided to do this photo shoot I had no idea what to expect. Would we be a zombie extra in a big photo shoot, a dead body, who knows?

Joshua reached out when the kickstarter campaign ended via email and asked me what I wanted to do. It never occurred to me that we would get to choose what the shoot would be about. I knew immediately what I wanted to do but would it be possible, after a couple of days of thinking about it I told Joshua that I would like to do the Bride of Frankenstein. He seemed very excited about the theme.

Growing up in the 60's I was the kid who stayed up late Friday and Saturday nights watching the old B&W horror movie double features and especially loved the Universal Monsters. Frankenstein's monster especially always resonated to me.

I told Joshua that I would be like the scientist creator as I did not think it would be possible to go to the great lengths to do the monsters makeup. My wife Cindy's hair would be perfect for the Bride's. He checked with his hair stylist and she concurred that it would work. We set a date and made arrangements to travel from north Idaho to Kansas City. It would be a whirlwind trip, fly out Friday, shoot Saturday and return Sunday.

We had to provide the costumes, mine was easy but we ordered three different costumes for Cindy and they all sucked. I was getting despondent about finding something as the time was short, we had haunted all the second hand shops as well. With only a couple of days before the trip Cindy called me into the bedroom and there she was wearing her wedding dress, I thought it was perfect, the answer had been in front of us all along.

As time passed and the shoot approached I came to the conclusion that if I did not portray the Monster I would regret it forever. I was fixated by Karloff's classic image but he has been portrayed so many ways from Eddison's early silent film to De Niro, even Boyle in Young Frankenstein. So I settled that I would make do with what was possible and that attitude would compensate for lack of prosthetics. So I contacted Joshua and he seemed greatly pleased as he thought also it should be the Monster and the Bride for the shoot.

We took off on our 9 hour flight and were chatting back and forth with Joshua about arrival times and such when he commented that he could get a prosthetic of the Monster and that the make up artist had done one once before and would I be interested. I practically leaped with joy and replied it was awesome news.

Arriving in K.C. Joshua and two of his charming daughters picked us up at the hotel and off we went to accompany them to a local artist film festival that night and his short was one of the featured films. His film was by far the most polished and professional, there were some other fun films and it was cool hanging with him and the girls before the shoot that next day. You never know how its going to go when you are meeting someone for something like this, he could be a diva or something far worse. It was like meeting an old friend you had not seen in years, they all made us feel so welcome and we chatted about horror movies and the like. Talk about a font of information he not only shoots horror art, he has immersed himself in it for his whole life.

So we arrive about 10am and started the process of makeup and hair. Cindy's took about an hour and she looked fantastic. My hair is blonde so it was sprayed black and the application of the prosthetic began, forehead and cheeks. There was a nose and chin piece, but my nose was monstrous enough and the chin piece Joshua and we all agreed made it look like I had a pair of balls hanging off my chin. With my love of the old movie monsters this was another dream come true that I thought I would never get to experience. It took a little over three hours for mine. The girls doing the work were a gas, they own a glamour photo studio so they do a lot of specialty work on a regular basis besides the work they do with Joshua.

This year was our 25th wedding anniversary and we had chatted about the trip we took to Belize with Joshua, so he thought it should be a wedding theme style shoot. So he had me wear a white shirt and tie instead of the black shirt. Got my suit on and got dusted to give it the grimy tomb look.

Each of us did individual shots first, with a smoke machine puffing away to give some atmosphere and horror film music soundtracks playing on the record machine as he clicked away, adjusting lighting angles, poses, expressions. Then the Kiss shot and others followed. Joshua asked if we wanted to do something else and I said "Well you know the monsters always end up fighting each other in the movies, so we should do the Monster Love shot (choking each other)" The last shot was the Monster reading a comic of his story, which was a 1943 Classics illustrated that I had brought along for this purpose, I gifted it to Joshua when we were done.

The shoot took about another three hours. It was great having such a professional do this and the quality shows in the images, he is an artist.

We left to go back to the hotel and had some funny experiences with people in other cars doing classic double takes when they saw the Monster driving a car, plus a stop at a drug store for some supplies to remove the make up. There were some photos taken with people in the store, lots of laughs. We had been invited back to Joshua's to hang out and watch some movies that night, chatting about horror movies and experiences.

This experience was everything Cindy and I had hoped for and so much more, a once in a lifetime event that we will always cherish.