Top 5 Alt Photo Cliches We Could Do Without

Let the countdown begin!

Model: Licky Roxxx
Photographer: Rockee Lixxx

Children, you already know what eating too much candy does to your teeth, but do you know what snorting it does to your brain? It turns you into a fan of Jeffree Star’s music! So stay away from the stuff. It’s lethal. Try snorting peas and carrots instead.

Model: Dee Dee van Dollface
Photo: Cheesecake Bombshell Pin-Up Studios (accept no imitations)

“Oops, I pewped a leedle” face – be gone! We can’t wait until the hundreds of models and photographers who try to emulate Bettie Page and Irving Klaw begin to copy the next phase of the duo’s career, becoming born-again Christians and destroying all their work. Hurry up already!

Model: Ophelia Pain
Photographer: Mom

Back in the 90s, goths actually walked to the cemetery to do their weeping-by-the-tombstone pic. But you’ve evolved past your ancestors and their barbaric ways. You did a Google search on “graveyard” and found a great image on the first page of results for your new MySpace pic. It’s OK, we’ll pretend to believe your Photoshopping. Thx 4 the ADD.

Model: Pesticide
Photographer: Helium Holocaust

Caution! While some of you n00bs think Bathtub Angst is a phenomenon invented in the MySpace era, this isn’t the case. This form of expression has been around for hundreds of years and is well-documented. See Death of Marat. For more on this, consult “Displays of Angst: Goth PhotoCode, Clause 4.008.”

Model: Aviatrix Isobel auf der Aethertrope
Photo: Queefernaut Tintype Parlour

We all thought goggles on a top hat were a good look when we first saw it some years ago in that 4 Non Blondes video, but with the explorer aesthetic being in vogue, functionality comes into play. Uh oh, jettison the dirigible!

Yes, we make the funs! But not without earning our stripes. Zo’s certainly guilty of posing for shoots just like this, and we mean JUST like this, in her gothier, less discerning days. Oh, she’s posed in a cemetery with black feather wings (granted it was a real cemetery and she was actually there in person). She’s rolled around half naked in syrupy stage blood, firmly stuck to another model. She might have liked it. Mer will be the first to admit that she should probably seek psychiatric treatment for her compulsive hoarding of silly hats, goggles, and blimp paraphernalia, and we’ve all seen some of Nadya’s early photo-travesties. But it’s all in the past. Today we sigh into the smoky Angel City sky a silent wish – please, let the badness end here.

56 Responses to “Top 5 Alt Photo Cliches We Could Do Without”

  1. lauren Says:

    And this is why Coilhouse is my homepage.

  2. Drew Yoon Says:

    hahahaha! so full of win. awesome work zoe and nadya.

  3. valaquenta Says:

    hahaha….. this made me laugh, then cry for being guilty of likine some of these cliches. If all these models are different…they look way to similar and should be their own cliche of models all lookoing the same, but if they are all 1 model (looks like Zoetica) then props… ’cause you fooled me!!!

  4. MeaghanMonstahrrr Says:

    well said!

  5. The Awesome that is Josh Says:

    I love you.


    You just decimated nearly every bad relationship I’ve EVER been in with only five photos.

    I cried tears of AWESOME!

  6. Erich Says:

    So right on. Thats all I can think of to say im laughing so hard.

  7. Jerem Morrow Says:

    We must laugh at ourselves! Kudos!

  8. Nathaniel Says:

    The best part of this for me was the model and photographer names! Oh, hell, yeah!

  9. Solano Says:



    Cliche #4 definitely needs to hung, gassed, buried, dug up then set on fire.

  10. Paul Komoda Says:

    I was about to suggest the “Angel in the Sewer”motif , but perhaps that’s more of an fine-art/illustration stand-by.

  11. Veronica Says:


    I’m so guilty of Bathtub Angst photos 5 years ago.
    At least there was no fake blood…
    /hangs head in shame

  12. E. Black Says:


    The Pin-Up one has been done to death (but I love those shoes to death).

  13. e Says:

    years from now, when my first-born seeks retribution for being named Queefernaut Tintype Parlour, i will be forced to point the child in your direction.

  14. skepticle Says:

    Ah thank God, someone is paying attention!
    Don’t suppose we can add Gothic Lolita to this list…

  15. Skerror Says:

    Hehehe…hot damn you guys swung a sharp scalpel on this one :)

  16. Ren Says:

    oh good god, it’s too late at night to laugh like this… now I’m gonna be up all night.

  17. Yumeiru Says:

    always good for a laugh; though i’m heavily guilty of most of those. i agree with another poster a few posts up.. Gothic Lolita needs to be added.

  18. La Môme Néantmom Says:

    This post is years worth of internet investigations! and so true…
    I Hhadn’t recognised Zoetica in all pictures at first!

  19. Destroyx Says:

    Hah… that is totally hilarious. The only scary thing is that your photos are better quality than what is out there. teehee…. I think I am totally guilty of most of this stuff too!

  20. Tequila Says:

    Hey…so like how can I add Dee Dee van Dollface to my MySpace? Is she single cuz if so I wanna ask her to the 14th Annual Hot Rods & Hot Dogs BBQ!!!

    Oh man…seriously…Zo & Co. you’re all my new heroes for this lil article and pix.

    Zo being all the models threw me for a loop… didn’t recognize her on first glance. Made the whole thing SO much better.

    “This form of expression has been around for hundreds of years and is well-documented. See Death of Marat.”

    THAT is piss your pants funny. Totally worth losing a good pair of pants to a line like that.

  21. Twosixteen Says:

    Seconding the addition of Gothic Lolita.

  22. Jazzi Says:

    This was golden!!! Thanks for the laugh!

  23. Molly Crabapple Says:

    Dear lord- this is hilarious, especially the mock photos. This ought to be mandatory reading at alt-model school.

  24. KrasH Says:

    I am guilty of a few of these :)

  25. dispodip Says:

    you forgot another alt-photo staple:

    Ophelia’s death

  26. Amber Says:


    Your awesomeness has left me speechless. Good job.

  27. theremina Says:

    Ophelia’s death sort of falls into the bathtub suicide category… I’ve definitely seen a few Ophelia-themed Tub Angst shoots.

  28. D Says:


    Even so, these genres are training grounds for the few good-to-come alternative babies out there, the post-post-post-post-post modern.

  29. Kato Says:

    Ouch! You just kicked me in the steampunk.

    But hilarious images and LOVED the names!

  30. D Says:

    Ah yes – for the next installment in this series ‘Not yet another Alice in Wonderland-reference, please’ could merit looking into.

    Great post, love this daily clickage/reading.

  31. fractal Says:

    You forgot “I gotz mhay periodz.”

  32. zoetica Says:

    Frac – you remind me that I have to second Mer’s suggestion from last week. There NEEDS to be a girl on SG named “Tubby Suicide”

  33. Glossolalia Black Says:

    Oh my god, Bathtub Suicide/Drowning/Ophelia could have been one. I’m guilty of that one myself.

  34. Novakanatik Says:

    LOL. i am guilty of quite a few of these, But i totally agree. :P

  35. Ashbet Says:


    — A ^_^

  36. Bratkitty Says:

    Actually Death of Marat wasn’t suicide. He was a French revolutionary assassinated by Charlotte Corday.

    Otherwise I agree with the article totally. :)

  37. The Infernal Mr Adams Says:

    but….but, I LIKE the Goggles on top hat look [sniff :(]

    My world is coming APART! LOL!

  38. Chris Lowrance Says:

    You realize that by killing 5 cliches, you’re asking for the birth of 5 more?

  39. Winominx Says:

    The pinup spoof is one that definitely hits home. I’m a fan of pinups (new and old), but if there’s one thing that ruffles my feathers, it’s imitators. We need not see your blow-up doll visage with a bad Bettie wig or a blonde ‘do like Marilyn. There images are lost in mainstream Heaven; a woman who looks like a potato with wonky lips and blonde hair is JUST LIKE JAYNE MANSFIELD! Oh shiz!

  40. Glitterfist Says:

    Oh sh*t, so funny! Thank “god” I haven’t committed any of these crimes!

  41. oopsiedoop Says:

    Oh, come on. It could be said that most things goth are all cliches. Now, I could tell you about very real people living very real psychological nightmares …

  42. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    This is a much older post, but thanks to the sidelines, Ive found an oldie but goodie! A good laugh, and I would say I am guilty of NONE of these, because I DID actually go to the cemetary for my “weeping-by-the-tombstone pic”. See myspace index for tombstone-bigger-than-me-with-my-5-inch-Munster-platform-boots.

  43. Coilhouse Magazine — 45 Issues Left! :: Carmine Magazine Says:

    […] Tesla’s birthday is (it’s July 10th). I had never thought to compile a list of the Top 5 Alt Photo Cliches that can be done without. I never would have known that the people behind Dr. Horrible (Joss Whedon […]

  44. Rivet Says:

    Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. (I am late to find this posting as well but enjoy it no less.)

  45. ivonne Says:

    all you need is the bathing in a bathtub of milk and/or blood and you’re all set!

  46. april Says:

    phew! managed to avoid all the cliches so far. though i must say had I accomplished any of them with so well an execution, they would of been way better than any photo I have EVER taken!!!

  47. kthx Says:

    Proud to say my hat-goggles pics were back in the early 1990s, before it became a cliché! At least I was ahead of the culture curve ONCE in my pathetic existence. And it was a homburg not a topper.

    Wow, that laast sentence sounded like lunch. Mmm, lunch.

    Easily distracted… where was I? Yes! Luv yr blog. Makes me laff. Now, hamburger and toppings…

  48. Syd Says:

    I suppose I’m a tad late on commenting on this, aren’t I? Well, anyway, these made my day. Though I still like the goggles and top hat look (I know, it’s been overused, but still!)

  49. Nikki Says:

    Hahahaha oh man, epic win!

  50. ninarevenant Says:

    This is so silly, I love it! The Retro Pin Up Cliche {#4} —-> is soooooo many chicks in the city I live in!

  51. uvita Says:

    Everyone should read this article!

  52. alex Says:

    I lost it with the bathtub angst and the death of marat (art history major). Lol!! Awesome. Thank you.

  53. Jodie Anderson Says:

    so true, so true. ! x

  54. rickie Says:

    i think about this post every once in awhile and have to revisit it, mostly for the pics of zoe and the top hat/goggle struggle. the last pic is my favorite.

  55. Podly Says:

    The only potential bathtub death i’m guilty of is falling asleep in it!

  56. Fatal Attraction: Kiss Me Deadly Lingerie | Dream Electric Says:

    […] having a ‘vintage’ style, the shots are refreshingly free of cliched pin-up imagery (no ‘oopsy’ face here).The brand are long-term collaborators with Morgana of Iberian Black Arts photography, a […]