Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer best known for staging cinematic scenes of suburbia to dramatic effect. His surreal images are often melancholic, offering ambiguous narrative suggestions and blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality.
They concentrate on a tension between domesticity, nature, and the unknown. The characters in his elaborate constructions act subconsciously, as if under the spell of a foreign entity. Their unusual actions suggest a mysterious narrative involving supernatural contact. Crewdson has acknowledged Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a primary influence. Like the character in the film, Crewdson’s subjects perform eccentric, ritual-like acts.
Working with large production teams to scout and shoot his images, his photographs have become increasingly complex as if it were for a motion picture production.
As a professor of photography at Yale University, Crewdson has been deeply influential on his students, and is a forerunner of a group of photographers that make use of carefully assembled models and staged components. These artists blend traditional documentary photography styles with fictional elements. By employing this technique, the photographer no longer passively experiences the world and then edits it, but actively creates the world and then photographs it.
Most recently, Crewdson has created Cathedral of the Pines, similar to Beneath the Roses and Twilight, a distanced interpretation of exaggerated drama by an intervention into natural in its most synergetic state. The collection was shown at Gagosian Gallery in New York City.