Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson is a photographer I have a love hate relationship with. Whilst I do quite like some of his images, and I greatly admire the lengths he will go to in choreographing and orchestrating his scenes, I find them to be to overproduced in a way, that I cant explain. 

His images are at times both compelling and disturbing in subject matter They are all composed to look as if they are movie stills, selected randomly from a film. The only context we get about what is happening comes from various stage managed "clues" which are included in the image (something Crewdson is excellent at) For example in the first image, we se a car stopped at traffic lights, the rest of the street is empty, save for a few cars park at the curb, the lighting and the fact street lights are on suggests it is either early evening as the sun is setting, or early morning as it is rising, despite this something seems slightly askew. If we look closer we see the traffic lights are on amber, presumably either the car has just reached there or it is just about to leave. But then we notice the car, and the fact it's door is open, this appears to be america so is the drivers side, and the car is empty. So we are now thrust into this story of what has happened? has some disaster taken place? We don't know there is no before and no after. The same is true for the other images, the dropped groceries on the floor, and the woman stood at the side of the car, obviously just jumped out in shock or amazement of the sight in her headlights which are still on and presumably the engine still running, the individual with their back to us, difficult to tell if it is a man or a woman because of the shot hair and what appears to be blades of grass across their back, the blank expression of the girl in the car.
The final image of the lone woman sat on the bed, we then notice the baby asleep on the bed (well we presume it's asleep) next to her. The car on the drive (is it her car, is it someone coming or leaving, her head is slightly turned, is she looking at the baby or towards the door, because someones just left or she's heard/seen the car pull up? Closer examination sees other tantalising titbits that hit at a story. One of the first things to are drawn to is the open door of the toilet, from there are eye is lead to the door of the cabin, and we see what appears to be keys, but they seem to be on the outside of the door.

In all his work Crewdson shows his talent for being a storyteller, for playing with the viewer's perception of truth on many levels. In an attempt to imitate this style I produced the following image.


I have attempted to create the same sort of feeling that Crewdson has done. The lone car, the shop lit up and open, but totally deserted (even by staff it seems). The only problem I have is I think it is too saturated, Yes some of Crewdson's feature that over saturated almost technicolour imagery but I think in the type of story I wanted to tell he employed a much subtler pallet, the saturation was there but without the vibrancy. This image originally started of as an attempt to not only take an image using some of the same ideas of Crewdson, it also drew inspiration from the painting Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

The epty street, the cafe open late at night. Its lights being the only source of illumination in the picture. the people in the cafe, do they know each other? the man and woman are sat together, but do they know each other? They have a very small resemblance to Bogart and Bacall from films such as the Big Sleep, playing into the idea of it being a movie scene. In fact this could very well be a painting of a still from a movie, though as far as I'm aware it isnt.
This image has a very Crewdson feel to it. it has a lot of the elements he places in his images, the loneliness that his images seem to purvey, the sense of being dropped into the middle of a story, the subtle hints to what may be a narrative, the fact we dont know what comes before or after, and the curiosity to want to know.