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Headless Sightings: A Quirky Photo Series As Seen Around the Streets of Los Angeles

By Hanssie on August 8th 2014

Straight from the pages of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Los Angeles based photographer Krocky Meshkin is a head hunter of sorts. His photo series “Headless Sightings” channels Anne Boleyn in the busy streets of L.A. as he relieves his subjects of their heads (in post production, of course).


Inspired by his work in reality T.V., Meshkin uses the same magic to craft a storyline into his images of everyday people, in ordinary situations, sans their heads. “The magic to reality TV is everything you’re seeing really happened, but your perception is altered.” In 2008, while making timelapses, Meshkin realized that he could “erase things” when he had numerous shots when his camera was on the tripod. Taking his knowledge from the televising industry and combining them into his photography, Headless Sightings was born. Meshkin takes anywhere from 1,000-3,000 images of a scene and layers them in post, and removes one of the subject’s heads.


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As he began taking more headless photos, Meshkin began researching headless characters in literature.

He stumbled upon perhaps one of the most famous headless characters, Washington Irving’s headless horseman. Ahead of his time, to promote one of his books, Irving pulled a “hoax” and purchased ad space in newspapers with a series of missing persons ads for a missing historian named Diedrich Knickerbocker. In addition to that, Irving also placed a notice from the hotel where Knickerbocker went “missing” that if Knickerbocker did not pay his hotel bill, the hotel would publish a manuscript he’d left behind. Of course, there was much interest within the public and when Irving published A History of New York, written by none other than Diedrich Knickerbocker, it was an immediate success. Alas, viral marketing without the internet. Brilliant.

Irving’s hoax inspired Meshkin to “pull a hoax of his own.” He printed up Headless Sighting posters and poster them all over the neighborhoods where the photos were taken.


The photos created quite a bit of buzz, and #headlessightings hashtags began popping up as people tried to figure out from where and from whom these images surfaced. Almost 5 years later, Meshkin went public and posted the images on his Flickr account. His quirky series and viral marketing tactics have reached a wide audience so far.

I make these images as my art. Almost everything about them is real, real sunlight, real people, real locations. I don’t add things that weren’t there, I only twist the imagery that I captured. My drive to create is in hoping people will look at the world they live in, in a different way.

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To see more of Krocky Meshkin’s work, check out his website and Flickr.

CREDITS: All photographs shared by Krocky Meshkin are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[Via Flickr]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Austin Swenson

    Way to get a “head” with a headless photography series.

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  2. Mark Hewitson

    This is some interesting work.

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  3. Greg Faulkner

    An interesting read thanks Hanssie :)

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  4. Russ Wittmann

    This is pretty awesome :)

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  5. Steven Pellegrino

    I love projects like this. It’s a “why didn’t I think of this” kind of thing.The flyers are great!

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  6. David Pickering

    Quirky is definitely a good choice of words to describe this series. I like the way it’s not always the obvious person chosen to be headless but the one that most of the others are looking at. Thanks Hanssie for showing us this work.

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    • Hanssie

      You’re welcome! And thanks for taking the time to show your appreciation :) Means a lot.

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    • David Pickering

      No worries, it’s the least we can do after the work you guys put in for us.

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