David Houncheringer: Are you ready to die today?
Every now and then a photographer shows up on the radar that just makes you wonder what the hell he/she was thinking. This time around we can blame the Swiss. His name is David Houncheringer.
Like many working photographers, Houncheringer applies his imagery to several areas including advertising, editorial and video but it was a particular series titled ‘Would you like to die today?’ that had special appeal to us.
From a Columbine-type school shooting to a hunter caught in a bear trap, the images from Die? series are instantly recognisable as fake, funny and peppered with hilarious hidden details.
So, we got in touch and asked him a few questions.
Q. Who are you?
David Houncheringer. I was born in Switzerland in 1983
Q. When did you begin shooting?
In 98 or 99. I was first in love with skateboard photography but I quickly started some contextual portrait work.
Q. I got to your website from a Swiss-Jamaican here in Kingston and one of the first things I noticed was a set called Would you like to die today? which featured some outrageous images of people meeting their often gruesome but always entertaining end. How did this concept come to you?
I had this idea for a long time: to let people choose how they’ll die, and then to kill them. Last year I met an special effects makeup artist called Vanaelle Mercanton. After a conversation we noticed that we had the same idea so we just went out and started to practice. We were really excited about the project. It’s really fun and interesting to do.
You can really do what you want. Some photos can be a bit more sarcastic, political, or just entertaining.
Those pictures are made to be printed at 70×100 cm. It allowed us to include a lot of small details that help you discover the ‘reason’ why the subject ‘died.’
I really enjoy seeing people watching these ‘hard’ pictures. Most of them laugh. Others are shocked. But they watch 15 murders a day on TV so I don’t care.
Q. Do you have any rules that you live by as it pertains to your technique?
I don’t like to shoot reality without changing it a bit. I often use lots of different pictures to create one, and I take my time. I love being able to control everything as much as possible. I like working on little details.
Q. Could you tell us a little about living and working in Switzerland?
Switzerland is a peaceful country. For working and partying.The only irritating thing is the bad/changing weather. It’s sometimes hard to organise shooting a free party outside.
We should really come to visit Jamaica. If someone wants to die, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Q. What do you know about Jamaica?
Bob Marley and in cheap police TV shows, the weed always come from Jamaica.