Joep Roosen Photography blog

Cool people: Gregory Crewdson

I want to share with you some of the cool people out there that inspire me and mister Gregory Crewdson is certainly one of them.

His work portrays small town America with a very dramatic and cinematic atmosphere. There are usually one or two subjects in his work that seem disconnected from the world around them, this gives a disturbing and surreal feel to his work. When asked in an interview with Wendy Lotterman about his photo’s, Crewdson had the following to say: “I think of them all as self-portraits, but not in a literal way. At the very core of it the pictures are about these moments of being alone and somewhat disconnected in the world. The people in the pictures are searching for some kind of connection, usually through light. And I think that I’m doing that myself. I’m creating these moments to try to find a moment of peace, or grace, or some kind of connection to the world. And so I think that the subjects in my pictures are kind of surrogates for myself.” You can read the entire interview here.

He works as if he were shooting a movie, using a large crew to light the entire scene. Everything is staged and the lighting throughout the scene is all controlled. Het gets an electrical company to kill the streetlights because the color temperature isn’t correct. This is just a small example of how far he goes to create his photo’s. Have a look at a few of these behind the scene pictures to see the scale of it all.

Click on the images for larger view

Gregory Crewdson behind the scenes

Gregory Crewdson behind the scenes

Gregory Crewdson behind the scenes 2

Gregory Crewdson behind the scenes 2

 

As you can see these are huge projects just for a single photo. His photo’s sell for between the $80,000 en $100.000 per print in editions of 10. So each shoot is worth approximately $1 million!

I find his work very inspirational, my photo “Distant” was very much inspired by his work. As well as the work of Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf, who is also a very cool person. I will surly write a post about him in the future.

The photo Distant was planned to be taken in an old cafe, but when we arrived at the location the cafe had been setup for a wedding that was planned that afternoon. The atmosphere we needed just wasn’t there with the modern decorated dining tables situated in the cafe. Luckily there was a furniture store next door, so I went in and asked if it would be alright to take a few shots. They said yes, but little did they know that 10 minutes later there would be 2 models, 2 assistants, 1 makeup artist and 1 me with camera and lights in their store. Fortunately the were really relaxed about it and we were even allowed to change a few props here and there. We spent around 2 hours shooting there while customers were walking in and out, quit the experience.

This is the end result of that day.

Distant by Joep Roosen

Distant by Joep Roosen

 

Now back to Crewdson, you have seen the huge movie like sets he builds for photo’s. In the day and age of photoshop most people would think that his photo’s are composites. That is what I first thought before seeing the behind the scenes photo’s. He uses a Hasselblad Sinar 8×10 camera on a tripod, he shoots at different exposures and focal lengths to get the sharpness and lighting correct throughout the scene. So there is some post production going on but not to the scale that you would expect.

These are just some of my favorites:

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Gregory Crewdson beneath the roses

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson 04

Gregory Crewdson

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Gregory Crewdson

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Crewdson Untitled Kent Street

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Gregory Crewdson Untitled Merchants Row

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Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson - 13

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson blind_reflection2

Gregory Crewdson blind reflection

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gregory crewdson untitled the father beneath the roses

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Gregory Crewdson

 

I would like to conclude with mentioning that Ben Shapiro has made a documentary on Gregory Crewdson and his work called Brief Encounters. Ben followed Crewdson for a period of 6 years to make the film. I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, nor been able to find out were I could see it in Holland so for now I’ll have to make do with the trailer.

Links
Crewdson is represented in London at White Cube
Brief Encounters official site
Aperture.com with cool behind the scenes stuff
Interview with Gregory Crewdson and Ben Scharpo about Brief Encounters
Strobist on Brief Encounters (incl. scenes from the film)
More photo’s on this blog

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