Gregory Crewdson is, to my mind, an unusual photographer. In one sense, he is not actually a photographer at all. “I do have an unusual relationship to photography. I don’t even like to hold a camera. I don’t take the actual picture.” Crewdson (2007)
Crewdson is a photographic artist whose method involves using a large crew of up to sixty cinematically trained technicians, to create complex staged images, with production values that are comparable to those used in cinema.
All elements of the image are controlled, from the staging, lighting, models, costume etc.
The images he creates can be unsettling, or strange. Though set in fairly typical middle class areas, where nothing out of the ordinary would be expected, the scenes Crewdson creates are filled with tension and mystery. Something strange is going on… there’s a story here…. pieces to put together… but unlike a film, everything is told in that one frame.
I was initially sceptical about Crewdson’s methods, and indeed, the legitimacy of his work as photography, but the more I see of it, and the more I work on my own images, the more I come to appreciate what can be achieved by such detailed control of all aspects of a scene.
While my own recent work on assignment 4, ‘The Language of Light’. is in no way comparable to Crewdson’s work, I have found that I’m able to create more visually striking images by manipulating the objects and lighting of the given scene, than by simply photographing the scene as I find it.
Crewdson. G (2007) The Genius of Photography Episode 6 – Snap Judgements [DVD]: BBC