March 7, 2014
Optional Extra Credit Assignment
Gregory Crewdson was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1962. His first experience of photography was work was a glance at work from Diane Arbus at the New Yorks’ MoMa. One thing lead to another, and in 1985, he received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase, where he studied photography. In 1988, he graduated with an M.F.A. in photography from Yale University and took a position in the photography department at Yale University in 1993. In 2004, he received the Skowhegan Medal for Photography from the Showhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Today, Crewdson lives and works in Lee, New Haven, and New York.
Photographers have turned to style and iconography of the established genres of cinema as a mean of reinventing the pictorial form of “tableu” and thereby to explore the possibility of narrating within the static image (101). Tableu can be described as the picture in form of a scene or picturesque grouping of persons or objects. Representing a composed scene that is static is objectified in Gregory Crewdson’s photos have a sense of mise-en-scene or “visual theme”, often telling a story. Mise-en-scene is closely objectified as offering a mode of analysis of physical settings in which a narrative can be set and the drama can unfold (105). Crewdson’s style objectifies, themes of suburbia, and the American Dream. His works are dramatic and cinematic, creating a surreal “affect”. Concurring with mise-en-scene, Crewdson requires large crews, casting, sets, props, and lighting techniques. With the close attention to lighting, architectural setting, props, positioning of actors, and costumes, Crewdsons works can be closely identified as cinematic. In doing so, his works show a “freezing of movement” or stasis in which the subject is not in motion.
Crewdson along with a few other contemporary artists have been identified for bringing up “cinematic photography” and thus creating conceptual and aesthetic shifts in current photographic practices. David Green adds that Crewdson refigures the artist’s role in the guise of the cinematic auteur as the most prevalent mode of art practice today relative to the cinematic experience (110). Subsequently, the contemporary influence of technology and digital media on art installations has contributed to the cinematic experience in works today. In Crewdson’s Julianne Moore ‘Beneath the Roses’, the lady is in a state of stasis, bringing out the punctum in his work. Philosopher, Roland Barthe, describes punctum as the “accident which pricks me (bust also bruises me, is poignant to me”(39). The use of lighting in his work along with staging the scene renders the punctum and it’s emotional potential identified through the lighting. The lighting brings attention to the lady in the photograph and magnifies her state of emotion. Her emotional state is one that brings up melancholy by the expression of her face. The gaze in her eyes eludes an enigmatic feeling to the viewer, and questions the reality to the situation between her and the other subject in the image. The woman is sitting on the bed and looks distraught, while in the shadows you can see that a man is laying on the bed next to her; further complicating this enigma and questioning the psychologically traumatic state she is in.
"Gregory Crewdson Catalogue." Fine Art, Decorative Art, and Design - The Art World Online: artnet . N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. <http://www.artnet.com/awc/gregory-crewdson.html>.
2. Maul, Tim. "Greogry Crewdson: Luhring Augustine." Art in America December
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3. Anderson, Paul Allen. "About the Light: The Uncomfortable Worlds of Gregory Crewdson and Raymond Pettibon." Art Pap 27.4 (2003): 12-13. Art Abstracts. Web. 6 Mar. 2014..
Murray, Derek. HAVC 45: Photography Now, Winter 2014