Gregory Heisler uses short light to frame the person’s features and hair. The hair are in the front of the face framing his face and letting the lighting to only center around him and everything else is pitch black. The color of his eyes are give this sense of creepiness and the way the lighting hits only on his face also creates that feeling. The out of focus of the hair at the bottom also makes it seem that his hair is a creature coming out of the blackness that Heisler has created. That detail around his face makes the photo strange and creepy. Gregory Heisler does name the photo strange making sense due to the fact that it has the feeling. The way he composes the photo sort of center makes the photo feel that urge of being creep out and feeling uncomfortable. He brings out the subjects’s being a bit strange and out of the ordinary with the way he frames his hair which are dreads that not make choice to have and showcasing that. As well choosing to have the photo in black and white rather than in color which would defeat the purpose of the aura the shot is giving to the viewer.
Remember that the model’s face needs to be in 3/4 view for it to be either short light or broad light.
This is a variation on split light. The model’s face is looking forward and the light falls on 1/2 of it from the side.
As you say the shallow depth of field really makes the hair look strange.