There are a few photographers who were an inspiration to me when I was starting out and Gregory Crewdson is one of my favourites.
Much of Crewdons’s elaborated staged work is set to look like small town America. His images often feature disturbing, surreal events and rely heavily on subtle lighting. The characters appear sweaty and grimy and nearly always seem dazed and unhappy.
I would love to have the sort of budget that Crewdson has. He works with a large crew to take each photo and after an initial planning phase it can take anything up to 5 weeks to construct a set for each of the images and take shots to get one final picture! All of the images in his recent series,Twilight, and Beneath the Roses have a very strong cinematic feeling to them. Crewdson sites various films as inspiration for his work and these include, Close Encounters of the ThirdKind,Blue Velvet and Vertigo.
Crewdson, talking on Ovation TV, says his images “portray a collision of the familiar and the strange. There is an unexpected sense of mystery or strangeness”.
Some critics have expressed a dislike for his style. David Frankel writing for ArtForum.combelieves, ‘a photograph that looks like a film still has a built-in issue, namely, that it is a photograph that looks like a film still… he succeeds only in reminding you that a film director must invent and oversee literally thousands of such images to fill the allotted ninety minutes and still can end up with a mediocre movie’. In a way I can agree with Frankel but Crewdson has much more time available to create just one image and this comes across in the quality of the detailing of each element within the frame.
In the Twilight series Crewdson has deliberately shot his images during the morning or evening twilight period to add a further sense of mystery to the images. I was a little disappointed to learn that much of Crewdson’s work goes through some expensive and complicated post-processing. I intend to try and replicate his style but do as much of it ‘in-camera’ as possible. The video below is a bit of an advert for Epson printers but there is some great stuff from Crewdson talking about his images.
This final video clip is Crewdson talking about his work creating the series Sanctuary, black and white images created in an abandoned film lot.
It was Crewdson’s image with William H Macy that served as the inspiration for the title image that used to front this blog and regularly appears on my facebook page.
You can find more information about two of Crewdson’s images on the Aperture website.
The Gagosina Gallery has some great images from Crewdson and a full biography HERE.