Gregory Crewdson [Tableaux]

  • Gregory Crewdon is an American photographer

Crewdson plans and creates staged scenes; based on American homes and streets, most have been made up and built on a set or have been shot on location, he uses natural lighting, artificial lights, artificial rain, backdrops and special effects to add drama and more detail (or highlight detail) to his images. His photos are meant to take place in small towns in America, but they’ve been manipulated to look more dramatic and cinematic – showing a surreal view (stereotype) on American lifestyle. They feel that they should be realistic but they seem more like fantasy/surreal and dramatic (like something out of a movie), they can sometimes be disturbing.

He has created several different series following this style called; Twilight and Beneath The Roses (I think there might be more, but I’m not sure). One image that he has done in this style called Ophelia (image shown above)which is an image of a women floating on her back in a flooded room and I believe it is linked to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, (I also remember a painting by John Everett Millais, which looks very similar to Crewdson’s image – I believe the painting is also of Shakespeare’s character) so Crewdson has also been inspired by other people’s fictional characters. He’s added a modern ‘twist’ to this image, kinda like what Tom Hunter does; however Hunter’s is more realistic whereas Crewdson’s is more dramatic.

Without looking into what the images are really about I have started making your own stories and situations, like I did with some of my other research – and I like being able to do that, I don’t like having the story served up to me on a silver platter! I like to see how long it takes me to work it out, and I like seeing people to that to my work (it worries me when people can’t though!).

© Gregory Crewdson Image Source:

When looking at his work; I found myself ignoring the character (or the thing that looks like the main focus) and looking through the doorways, windows, objects on selves or tables, or even the mirrors (in one image a woman was sat at a dressing table and behind her, reflecting in a mirror, was a nude woman – it creeped me out the first time a saw it!). I would look in the background and things in the foreground, and try to spot any ‘hidden’ props or clues (maybe this is something I should think about when taking on the role of Carrie, this will require some planning).

When planning my Tableaux idea; I would like to work on a location that will suit the story, like a bedroom, and add props and pick certain clothing for my model to wear, that will add clues and help my audience to depict the story, or close to it anyway. Another idea I did have was using mirrors; but I’m not sure whether to play a character like Carrie or my own character. And another idea I would like to do is have a story flowing though my three final images, each images changes and progresses though the story either slowly like Duane Michals’ work (keeping the camera and location in the same place, but having the model or/and object change) or slightly bigger jumps like Cindy Sherman’s work (changing locations or moving the camera closer or fervour away from the model of subject).

  • Research for Tableaux idea: “Mirrors: I could make a series of images like Duane Michals’ work, where the model or objects in the image changes each time, looks and interact with a mirror/s (narrates a story).” and “Based off books: I would like to look to Stephen King’s Carrie and have a shoot based of the story.”



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