Gregory Crewdson is a true photographic legend, and one of, if not the first, artist to inspire me to pick up a camera. His work is nothing short of monumental.

He is famed for using entire films crews (not to mention budgets) to create a single photograph. He seemingly condenses and entire narrative to down to a single shot, with the attention to details so minute that a photo must be studied carefully to truly gather the facts of the story.

I came across Crewdson’s work during University. I was taking a course entailed ‘Performance Instillation’, a pioneering course in its own right, being the first of its kind to specifically begin to blur the line between performance theatre and installation art. I will be posting more about that course later…

Crewdson is so inspiring, his work is limitless and he never sees something as impossible. Why not spend thousands on sets and crews for one photo when there are potential buyers on a waiting list ready to drop up to sixty thousand dollars on one piece of work.

Beneath the Roses’ is probably my favourite collection; the eerie sense of impending doom resonates throughout the collection, with multiple layers of narrative connected through varying visual points of interest within the images.  All shots are located in ‘small town’ America, seemingly following the narrative of contemporary drama that the most dramatic story is hidden away in the nameless landscape.

The works are very much in the present day, but are left short of being fully understandable. We look at them never fully comprehending what is about to happen, most probably what Crewdson intended, thus creating a narrative that is on going.

”My pictures are about everyday life combined with theatrical effect, I want them to feel outside of time, to take something routine and make it irrational. I’m always looking for a small moment that is a revelation.”Gregory Crewdson

It is quite amazing how a single image can seem so empty, devoid of hope, yet at the same time have so many complexities to see. Even the beings within the frame give little for us to work with, each image leaves us with a many questions and even more possible answers.

The collection is a perfect example of mixing of the everyday and the theatrical. The mix of giant anonymous landscapes and derelict-esque surroundings as the backdrop to strange human behaviour, places us deep in to the psyche of the crisis orientated Imagination.

Gregory Crewdson, Beneath the Roses, 2004, Edition of 6, Digital chromogenic print




Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.