Gregory Crewdson

When Less Is More And The Value Of Disappointment by Geoff Harrison

In an interview with "The American Reader", photographer Gregory Crewdson discusses his motivations and objectives.  His photos are often cinematic in scale and haunting - maybe even unnerving.  Crewdson has a very unique relationship with the figures in his work: "I don’t want to know them well. I don’t want to have any intimate contact with them. For all the talk of my pictures being narratives or that they’re about storytelling, there’s really very little actually happening in the pictures. One of the few things I always tell people in my pictures is that I want less—give me something less."  Thus his work is open to the widest interpretation, he is giving the viewer the opportunity to project their own narrative into the picture.

Later in the interview, Crewdson speaks of the inevitable disappointment of translating an image in his mind into the final product.  "Yes. I think that’s the nature of representation. No matter what it will disappoint, it will fail in some way.  But that’s also part of the magic of art. If every picture met my expectation in exactly the right way, there’d be no mystery; there’d be no gap between what’s in my head and the picture I make. So it’s necessary. But it sure disappoints you. It’s also what propels you to make the next one."

He argues this is the case for just about every visual or performing artist.  The desire to make something perfect, exactly right.



Gregory Crewdson by Geoff Harrison

"These pictures are about creating a world.  I’ve always had these images inside my head that I want to get out into the world.  These towns are just a backdrop for a more submerged psychological drama.  It is really a projection from my own story where I have explored my own fears, anxieties and desires."   Gregory Crewdson

Crewdson was raised in New York City and his father was a psychoanalyst who practiced in the basement of the family home.  
What was going on there  was a complete mystery, Crewdson tried to eavesdrop on the sessions and hence the hidden psychology of his work.

Among other things he is credited with exploring lives of quiet desperation in towns abandoned by industry, although Crewdson denies there is a strong socioeconomic element to his work.

Gregory Crewdson by Geoff Harrison

While there is plenty to admire in the beauty of Gregory Crewdson's photography, it is the deep underlying psychology of his work that impresses me.  Crewdson has said that he wants his work to be both beautiful and have an underlying anxiety, loneliness perhaps even fear.  It is interesting to hear him speak of his work and to note the absence of the usual conceptual, post modernist gobbledegook you hear from so many artists these days.  Perhaps it's because he knows his work stands on its own merits.