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Research point – Gregory Crewdson

Source: featureshoot.com

‘Look up the work of Gregory Crewdson online.Watch this YouTube video [www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7CvoTtus34&feature=youtu.be] about Gregory Crewdson and his work and consider the questions below.’

Do you think there is more to this work than aesthetic beauty?

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 21.41.39
Source: gagosian.com

Yes, I think there is more to the work than aesthetic beauty. Grewdson’s images are often surreal; looking at the selection on the website Cincyworldcinema, one with a man laying turf in a living room and another with an outdoor birthing/paddling pool (from the Twilight series). They make us question what is happening in the narrative. In his most recent work, the Catherdral of the Pines, we see works featuring scenes that at once appear everyday, but at the same time abnormal or strange. It is a cinematic quality where details are exaggerated – in the image to the left, the woman is unnaturally tense/rigid and the contrast between the bright light around the window and the dullness inside the room seems unreal, as if aliens are invading.

Do you think Crewdson succeeds in making his work ‘psychological’? What does this mean?

The Oxford Dictionary defines psychological as ‘affecting, or arising in the mind; related to the mental and emotional state of a person’. Crewdson succeeds in making his work affect the mind because of the qualities described above – the surreal and the abnormal contained within the seemingly every-day. There is a sense that something unexpected has happened in the narratives; car doors are left open, cars are stopped haphazardly, kitchen sinks over-flow, a mother with her breast showing is lying across her daughter’s lap. The images could be considered disturbing.

What is your main goal when making pictures? Do you think there’s anything wrong with making beauty your main goal? Why or why not?

My main goal is for pictures to express something about the world, to tell a story of people or place. I don’t think there is anything wrong with making beauty your main goal, if that is what is important to you and that is what you want to express to your viewers. However, there is an argument to suggest that showing only beauty is one-dimensional or superficial and can become uninteresting or not challenging to the viewer. But, this doesn’t seem to stop the popularity of images of sunsets or semi-naked models on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and 500px. So perhaps beauty is a worthy goal if popular appeal is what you seek. There is nothing wrong with it, it depends on your objective.

‘While some commentators regard Crewdson’s approach as an effective method of image-making, others it argue it lacks the subtlety and nuance of Wall and DiCorcia’s work.’  In my view Crewdson’s approach is just different, perhaps an evolution that is certainly beyond the financial means of the vast majority of photographers and could not succeed without commercial backing – the economics not only the approach, must be similar to cinema. In fact, Hipes tells us that Crewdson will be producing a movie in 2016, perhaps evolving further into a cinematographer. The difference between the works of the artists is that Crewdson’s makes no pretence of being a reflection of reality; it is cinematic and exaggerated, whereas the works of Wall and DiCorica offer the possibility that they may be showing something that has happened in reality.


Cincyworldcinema [website]. http://www.cincyworldcinema.org/crewdson.php [accessed 27.4.16]

Gagosian [website]. Gregory Crewdson. https://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/gregory-crewdson–january-28-2016 [accessed 27.4.16]

Hipes P (2016). Deadline.com [website].  Photographer Gregory Crewdson Taking Shot At Movie Biz With ‘The Deepest Secret’ & Producer Marc Platt (27 January) . http://deadline.com/2016/01/gregory-crewdson-deepest-secret-movie-marc-platt-1201691754/ [accessed 27.4.16]

Kail E (2016). Featureshoot.com [website]. After 5 years away from the public eye gregory crewdson releases breathtaking new body of work (19 January).  http://www.featureshoot.com/2016/01/after-5-years-away-from-the-public-eye-gregory-crewdson-releases-breathtaking-new-body-of-work/ [accessed 27.4.16]



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