July 9, 2014 at 3:03 PM ET
If Tim Burton had a penchant for baking, his Instagram feed might look something like that of Los Angeles photographer Christine McConnell, whose account has blown up over the last week and a half.
It all started when the 32-year-old photographer posted a collection of horror-flick-inspired desserts on Reddit, which was quickly picked up by other sites. She now has a whopping 105,000-plus followers and climbing—up from about 14,000 just two weeks ago.
Not bad for a self-taught photographer. McConnell—who is trained and licensed to do hair and makeup—styles all the photos herself, right down to stitching all the garments, finding all the props at estate sales and thrift shops, and doing her own baking (also self-taught) for the food shots. Then, she snaps photos with a professional-grade camera before eventually uploading them onto the site.
By day, she does beauty photography, business portraits and the like—the Instragram feed was just a hobby—but she is now entertaining offers for her own TV show. “Can I tell you, this is just the weirdest week-and-a-half of my entire life. I can’t even get my head around the idea of having that many people who appreciate what you do,” McConnell told TODAY.com.
“I’ve never had aspirations to be on TV, but I’ve had 75 production companies contact me. I’ve been recognized now when I leave the house. I was buying milk, and the girl at the register was like, ‘I know you.’ ”
One photo that caught people’s eyes in particular—a tangled fray of chocolate-strawberry monsters —came about almost by accident one day, when McConnell went to make ice cream and waffles. “The waffle batter was so pliable, and I thought, I could do something cool with this,” she says. “One thing led to the next, and next thing I know, I’m looking at this bizarre little monster.”
McConnell’s inspirations include Tim Burton, Alford Hitchcock and Paula Deen (“I love all the colors she uses, and I love butter and sugar,” McConnell says), and she credits her love of vintage horror films with growing up in a spooky old Victorian house (here’s her edible version ). “It looks like Disneyland and a Tim Burton movie all at once,” she says.
The success has been so meteoric, McConnell—who claims she “only knows about 50 people”—says she’s almost afraid to post another photo. “My phone won’t stop seizuring,” she says. “I wish I could bottle the excitement.”