The cinematic American photographer on a career spent revisualizing reality
When encountering Gregory Crewdson’s evocative images for the first time, you’d be forgiven for mistaking them for film stills. Working with a director of photography and rarely dealing directly with the camera, the Massachusetts-based photographer’s approach is more like that of a movie director—with high production values and a big crew to match.
Crewdson’s often-haunting photographs are always thick with tension. Shooting almost exclusively in his home state, domestic scenes are set-designed with extreme attention to detail; light is used to tell a story about the enigmatic figures featured, treading a thin line between reality and fiction.
In a new film made on the occasion of Crewdson’s exhibition, Cathedral of the Pines, at The Photographers’ Gallery in London—the first time the entire gallery space has been given over to one artist—Crewsdon talks about the purpose and intent behind his compelling, unsettling oeuvre.
Gregory Crewdson was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of SUNY Purchase and the Yale School of Art, where he is now Director of Graduate Studies in Photography.
Crewdson’s career has spanned three decades. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and is featured in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
His most widely acclaimed bodies of work have been Natural Wonder, Twilight, Dream House (a 2002 commission by The New York Times Magazine), Beneath the Roses, and Sanctuary. His most recent body of work, entitled Cathedral of the Pines, opened at Gagosian New York in early 2016. Comprised of 31 digital pigment prints, this series was made during three productions in and around the rural town of Becket, Massachusetts. A fully-illustrated book with an essay by art historian Alexander Nemerov was released by Aperture in conjunction with the exhibition.
Beneath the Roses, a series of pictures that took nearly ten years to complete—with a crew of over one hundred cumulatively—was the subject of the 2012 feature documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, by Ben Shapiro.
A retrospective of Crewdson’s work produced between 1985 and 2005 toured European museums from 2005 to 2008, and was accompanied by a fully-illustrated book published by Hatje Cantz. The recent exhibition, “In a Lonely Place,” traveled to galleries and museums across Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand in 2013. The major monograph Gregory Crewdson was published by Rizzoli International the same year.
Cathedral of the Pines, currently on view at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, will be presented by the Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń, Poland, later this year. Gregory Crewdson: The Becket Pictures is on view at FRAC Auvergne through September.
Crewdson’s awards include the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship, and the Aaron Siskind Fellowship.
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