Week 3 Gregory Crewdson Brief encounters
Notes on Crewdsons brief encounters.
“The pictures are about creating a world” (Crewdson 2012)
Images selling for £125,000 in shows. (I have had a search online and could find images of his starting from a few thousand online, this one from INVALUABLE was being auctioned at between $40,000 and $60,000 in 2016)
Laurie Simmons speaks of the set productions having a production cost the same value as a movie. Questions HAVE to be asked about the financial, economic and environmental implications of such huge productions. What is this all for, is it just to placate a fascination within himself, is it enough for it just to be for the art ? At least with a movie it is enjoyed by millions of people, do we really need that many Crewdson images ? It seems, as does the film in many parts, entirely self serving.
“The people and houses in his images were the backdrop for a more submerged psychological drama” (Crewdson 2012)
2002-2008 beneath the roses
most expensive production to date
Talks of how long distance swimming helps him as a form of meditation and images come to him when he is in this state sometimes. Sometimes as dreams.
Beneath the roses was originally a movie in his head.
“In Gregorys work it’s all about the details. There’s not one element in there about which he hasn’t made a decision, it’s in there for a reason” (Haris, Melissa, Editor in chief Aperture magazine)
Everyone who worked on beneath the roses sets came from the movie world. They weren’t used to someone like Crewdson micro managing every little detail.
“I really love that dynamic between beauty & sadness” (Crewdson 2012)
Spoke again about the ‘secret sessions’ his dad conducted as a psychoanalyst in the family homes basement.
Talks about going to see the Diane Arbus exhibition with his dad, talks about the Jewish Giant photograph , and “The great sense of dislocation in the domestic space” (Crewdson 2012) Still wonders why his father took him as they didn’t used to go to galleries together really.
A shoot will last 2 days. day 1 is the pre-shoot and lighting set up, day 2 is the shoot day where he is managing the shoots.
NEVER HAVE A WHITE CAR IN THE PHOTOGRAPH …. who knows why he doesn’t say , maybe his dad had a white car, there’s quite obviously big connections between his father and his work all the way through, one can’t help but wonder what Freud would make of all this !
All photographs taken on location are taken at twilight. This is because they need to use big film lights, you can’t use these in the day, and at night they would be too “contrasty” so there is only a very small window to shoot during.
He chooses not to be behind the camera , because he wants the most direct experience with the subject. He says this, however a lot of his instructions are given via another person, or through a megaphone on the larger sets as well. It doesn’t feel like there is a deep connection there. However this may just be the way it plays out in the film, in some of the scenes he does seem to be more involved with the subjects, but this is on the smaller sets.
IS HE A PHOTOGRAPHER OR A FILM DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION MANAGER/ SET DESIGNER? HE CERTAINLY DOESN’T APPEAR TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER, UNDENIABLY THE VISION IS BEAUTIFUL BUT HE DOESN’T TAKE THE SHOT, EDIT THE SHOT, PRODUCE THE SHOT OR PRINT THE SHOT …. ALTHOUGH IT DID SHOW HIM METICULOUSLY REVIEWING A LARGER THAN LIFE SIZED IMAGE WITHT HE WOMAN WHO DOES HIS POST PRODUCTION, SO HE IS OBVIOUSLY INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS. IT’S JUST ALL A BIT WEIRD AND DISCONNECTED LIKE A WARHOL THAT WAS NEVER REALLY A WARHOL, BUT A FACTORY PRODUCTON.
Originally thought he would be a psychologist like his dad
Had a really hard time at school academic wise. Dyslexic.
He was in a band in college, oddly their only ‘underground’ hit was, ‘let me take your photo’
comforted by the stillness and order in photography
Crewdson was Simmons’ student Yale, which was known for documentary at the time, the “truth and poetry in life” (Crewdson 2012)
He saw people like Sherman creating narratives and was intrigued
Blue velvet film WATCH THIS !
He was looking to domestic life for mystery.
Trying to create something that hovered between the documentary and the cinematic.
worked in the same area over and over again like Hopper.
Doesn’t take a camera when scouting for locations
“The majority of Americans live lives of quiet desperation, and that is what Gregory is portraying”
Dusk is when people lives are shifting from public to private from exterior to interior, into the home.
Watching them shoot the image of the mother and baby on the motel bed was funny, it was like no-one on set had ever handled a baby, a very odd thing to witness really, that he managed this creation down to the last moment.
He was very sad at the finality of beneath the roses.
Each shoot is 30/40 frames. camera is fixed in position so the images can be composited (brings another question of production, does Crewdson choose each and every one of the composites?) The images comprise of 4/5 composites usually.
“The whole process of making pictures, is so deeply connected to failure.” (Crewdson 2012)
“Often things go wrong in the wrong way & then you just have to understand that there are going to be pictures that you make that just don’t work in the end” (Crewdson 2012)
75 lights over 1/2 a mile in the image brief encounters. They close the street down. they waited for it to snow.
Crewdson, Gregory. 2012. Brief Encounters. New York; Zeitgeist Films
Lot 217: GREGORY CREWDSON – Untitled, Summer (Summer Rain) from the series Beneath the Roses Available at https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/gregory-crewdson-untitled-summer-summer-rain-217-c-84f4bada41# (Accessed 12.02.20)