Writer Joseph J. Airdo
Photography by Rycardo Bia

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]arkness falls across the land. The Midnight hour is close at hand…

You need only read those iconic words and your mind immediately transmografies them into their audible form, menacingly spoken by Vincent Price in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Chances are, you heard Price’s foreboding voice and felt your hair stand up on end. It is simply one of the many fantastic phenomena about how our brains process and perceive information.

The same phenomenon applies to the images that we see right in front of us in real life. Have you ever woken up the middle of the night and, wanting to get a glass of water or needing to use the restroom, walked across your home? What is normally the space in which you feel safest is suddenly a potentially haunted domain filled with immensely ominous objects hiding around each and every corner.

Do not even think about stepping outside, for, under the moonlight, that same street on which you had a block party last weekend now may as well be the setting of the most terrifying horror movie you have ever seen. You are one coyote howl away from performing the classic Scooby Doo run back to bed, where you will pull your blanket over your head and hope that it was all just your imagination.

It was. And, when you really think about it, that is a pretty cool mental anomoly. Places and things that are perfectly innocent or even joyous by day give off an entirely different vibe at night, in the middle of a rainstorm, cloaked by fog or accentuated by shadow or silhouette. They are natural fright filters — no Snapchat required.

Photographer Rycardo Bia excels with such imagery and, in honor of spooky season, we at Images Arizona thought it would be appropriate to share some of his most sinister shots. Each one proves not only that our mind loves to play tricks on us but also that, under the right aesthetic, Arizona’s sublime scenery can send shivers down your spine.

About the Photographer

Although he was born in New Mexico, Rycardo Bia moved to Tucson, Arizona upon starting school. Later, when he became a father and started a family of his own, Bia made the conscious decision to stay in Tucson — an Arizona city that he believes has a lot to offer.

Bia began a career in law enforcement but, bridled with job-related stress, decided to go back to school with aspirations of a career in nursing. However, during this time he discovered and developed a love of photography. After graduating, he opted to instead pursue this newfound passion.

With a little help from tutorials on YouTube, taking pictures of the sunset with his cell phone quickly turned into processing professional-looking photos taken with his DSLR. Bia found that the camera not only made it possible for him to share his extraordinarily unique view of his surroundings with others but also benefitted him therapeutically.

“Over the years, I have had my own challenges in life — serious challenges, too — and I find that photography is a very therapeutic way of coping,” says Bia, noting that this newfound stress-reliever makes him comfortable enough to consider going back to school, getting his nursing license or even returning to law enforcement.

However, he will first and foremost focus his attention on his family and his photography, the two things that enrich and make his life such a rewarding experience.