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Tag Archives: Gregory Crewdson

The Why and How of Gregory Crewdson

When I went to see the Gregory Crewdson exhibition in London earlier in the summer, it was the opening day and I had a strange experience. I went with my friend David and we were looking at these fantastic images and I was trying to explain to David how I understood Gregory worked and the use of symbolism and atmosphere in the pictures. I was eulogising the work and the man, I think he is a genius. Then as I was explaining a man started to invade our space, he was in a suit but creatively scruffy, long hair and with a friend following. You know how it is at exhibitions, you sort of want the space to yourself and as I was in full flow was a touch put out by the intrusion.

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Gregory Crewdson The Haircut, 2014 © Gregory Crewdson

We moved on the next picture and in a short while here was the man again, more lacking in exhibition etiquette I thought in my very British way. The man and his companion had moved to the 3rd picture on the wall so David and I hopped to the 4th. I was leaning in close to admire the exquisite detail in one of the images when they appeared again, the companion leaned in and pointed to exactly where I was looking and turned to the man and said, “That is so beautiful, you are so clever”

I had been irritated by the presence of a master, how stupid of me. I didn’t say hello, a bit embarrassed but I wish I had now.

Yesterday I found this film on YouTube where Gregory talks about his process and motivations and intentions, I so wish I had head it from him in person. The 30 minute film shows him orchestrating the actors, environment and atmosphere to capture the remarkable images he makes.

This is such a brilliant 30 minutes I would really recommend you watch

If I had seen this first I would have recognised him and maybe not have made a fool of myself by explaining to the master his works!

The great man at work

Sadly the exhibition of his recent work Cathedral of the Pines has now ended at the Photographers Gallery

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GREGORY CREWDSON: CATHEDRAL OF THE PINES

I find I can rely upon the culture section of The Guardian for many interesting articles about photography. If you have been on my courses you will have found that I talk about Gregory Crewdson, his images are cinematic in many aspects, both the nature of their creation and the sense they provoke. He has a new exhibition called Cathedral of The Pines and it is reviewed in the The Guardian

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‘They were more difficult because they were less spectacular’ … Father and Son, 2013. Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

In 2013, in retreat from “a difficult divorce”, Gregory Crewdson moved from Manhattan to a converted church in rural Massachusetts. “I had to relocate myself, physically and psychologically,” says the photographer. So he spent his time mountain trekking, long-distance swimming and, when the winter set in, cross-country skiing.

“I was out in the snow one day when I came upon a sign for a section of the Appalachian Trail called Cathedral of the Pines,” he adds. “It stopped me in my tracks, just the resonance of the name. I knew I had to use it.”

The resulting series is more sombre, foreboding and inward-looking than the meticulously staged cinematic photographs that made his name. It opens this week at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, the first time the institution has devoted all its gallery space to a single artist.

Cathedral of the Pines took two and a half years to shoot and, typically for Crewdson, required the kind of preparation that usually attends a Hollywood film: months of casting, location hunting and storyboarding, with an extensive crew to oversee lighting, props, wardrobe, makeup and even some special effects involving artificial smoke and mist.

The new exhibition can be seen from the 23rd at The Photographers Gallery

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Gregory Crewdson The Haircut, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

“By my standards, it was relatively restrained,” he says, laughing and citing his 2008 series Beneath the Roses, which cost as much as a mid-budget movie and entailed four city streets being closed down for shots that required rain and snow-making machines.

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Gregory Crewdson The Motel, 2014 Digital pigment print Image size: 37 1/2 × 50 inches (95.3 × 127 cm) Edition of 3 + 2 APs © Gregory Crewdson

Cathedral of the Pines was challenging in a different way. “These pictures are smaller in scale and, to a degree, they were more difficult because they were less spectacular. You have to create meaning and atmosphere in a more intimate way, which makes lighting, for instance, a lot more challenging.”

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Foreboding … Mother and Daughter, 2014 Photograph: © Gregory Crewdson / Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

see more pictures and read the rest of the review in the Guardian here

find out about the exhibition at the Photographers Gallery here

Alec Dawson Photographer

In his series of untitled photographs Nobody Claps Anymore, the Mexican-American photographer Alec Dawson portrays ordinary people in their homes in a downbeat, ultra-stylised manner. Nobody Claps Anymore by Alec Dawson is on show at Perugia Social Photo festival, until 28 March, which focuses on photography around social issues – this year with the theme of ‘blindness’ . Dawson, who works as a civil engineer and has no formal training in photography, keeps the houses of his subjects largely unchanged, but brings in cinematic lighting to throw sharp shadows and dramatic highlights on them

The series’ title, Nobody Claps Anymore, was inspired by an emotional realisation that I experienced when my plane landed in Melbourne. Hundreds of tons of metal, carrying hundreds of passengers, silently flared momentarily before the tires collided with the runway. The nose of the plane heaved forward. The reverse thrusters roared and rapidly decelerated the plane. As the plane turned off the runway onto the taxi-way the individual joints in the pavement were perceptible as the plane lumbered to the gate’ Eventually the plane parked and I heard the sounds of belt buckles, zippers, and the rustling of bags. It all happened in silence. Not a word uttered. No applause. The audience had forgotten to clap’

Every so often by wandering around the web something special pops out. Today it was Alec Dawson. I know his work is somehow reminiscent of Gregory Crewdson except that Dawson shoots real people in real situations rather than constructing a set. He just adds dramatic lighting and I don’t doubt manages the location and people a bit. The images are remarkable for that, their reality, is this a truth. The idea that these are true representations forces the question what is truth. Anyway I am always willing to applaud great creativity and just wish I had thought of it first although I doubt Oxfordshire would have presented such characters.

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Originally found in the Guardian, this is a good place to see interesting photography and worth checking on a regular basis. The Guardian Alec Dawson

 

Faded + Blurred

I stumbled across this blog and realised it has the same ethos as ours namely it is people who are interested in photography talking about photography

Initially a way for a group of friends to keep track of monthly photo walks, Faded + Blurred has evolved into a fantastic online resource for creative inspiration, shared by a community of photographers, both amateur and professional, who are dedicated to the art and craft of making images. This is what they say about themselves, sounds like us.

Here for example is a brilliant article about Bill Brandt

“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.” – Bill Brandt

Heralded by many as Britain’s greatest modern photographer, Bill Brandt was a man who never took a photograph unless he had something to say. On par with Man Ray, Brassai, and Atget, Brandt accomplished what few photographers have been able to do (either before or since), which is to successfully bridge the gap between photojournalism and documentary photography all the way to the other end of the spectrum of fine art. His work is characterized by stark contrasts between black and white and strong geometrical structures, whether the images are of a miner bringing home his coal for the day or the nude form of a woman on a rocky beach…..READ MORE HERE

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and here is another about Gregory Crewdson

“My pictures must first be beautiful, but that beauty is not enough. I strive to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear. ” – Gregory Crewdson

Few photographers have had such a dramatic impact on photography as Gregory Crewdson. Like Richard Avedon or Henri Cartier-Bresson before him, Crewdson fundamentally changed not only the photographic language, but also the process of creating images and, in doing so, established himself as one of the most visionary photographers of the last decade. His photographs hang in museums, galleries and private collections all over the world and can sell for upwards of $100,000, but seeing him on the set of one of his productions, you might think he looks more like a film director than what has traditionally been the image of a photographer. In fact, he rarely even presses the shutter button. “I prefer not to be behind the camera,” he says, “because I want the most direct experience with the subject as possible.” Creating one of his photographs means dozens of crew members, unbelievably large budgets, and magnificent environments that require sets to be built or streets and neighborhoods to be temporarily shut down. Large in scale and obsessively detailed, they are made even bigger by what the viewer doesn’t see. “In all my pictures,” he says “what I am ultimately interested in is that moment of transcendence or transportation, where one is transported into another place, into a perfect, still world.” READ MORE HERE

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The people behind Faded + Blurred are Jeffery Saddoris is a mixed media artist and designer whose love for photography started in the darkroom of his high school photo class. Jeffery is also the co-host of the weekly photography podcast, On Taking Pictures on the 5by5 Network. Nicole Rae (Nikki) is a food and fine art photographer. In 2008, Nikki won the Aperture photo contest, just one year after picking up a camera. In 2012, she co-wrote and photographed Chill, an eBook all about ice cream. See her fantastic food photography at Simmer & Shoot.

I would suggest you hurry over to their wonderful blog site for more of what you love fb-logo-header-l

UnderNight

I love photographs that force me to create a narrative to explain them, I like images with stories, even if the stories make no sense, the engagement of brain and eye makes for great images. Gregory Crewdson is a master at this, I have blogged about him many times in the past so go back into the archives for posts on him. These pictures by Benoit Paillé have a similar intent. Let me know if you can work out what is going on

Twilight photography

Untitled from the series 'Twilight' 2001

Gregory Crewdson

everything is fashion, well everything has fashion and photography is no different, in recent years the areas of photography that can be considered contemporary art have been often about photography at twilight. As is so often the case what seems at the extreme finds it’s way towards the centre and now advertising, fashion and many other areas of photography are deluged under the weight of images taken at twilight, off camera flash is… well  ‘the new black’ So I was interested when a colleague, Scott Billings, showed me a book from an exhibition at the V & A from 2006. Here is a link to the V & A page about that exhibition. http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/photography/past_exhns/twilight/index.html

“This exhibition focuses on eight contemporary artists whose photography and installations are made at, or suggest, the fleeting state of the world at dusk. It explores a time of day and a quality of light that presents technical challenges but also embodies a haunting mood and the possibility of narrative intrigue or psychological tension.

At twilight, the colour and quality of light go through rapid and dramatic changes. For photographers, who are highly attuned to the subtleties of light, this is a particularly significant and poignant time. The artists in the exhibition have all made work that focuses on the end of the day and investigates twilight, as distinct from night.”

If you want to know where the current trend has come from have a look and be sad you were not there.

Here is a link to the book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twilight-Photography-Magic-Martin-Barnes/dp/1858943531