Anyone have questions for Gregory Crewdson?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Alex Bishop-Thorpe, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I wound up in this thing.

    Gregory Crewdson is running a Masterclass in Little ol' Adelaide for a week, and supposedly acting as an artist in residence at the South Australian School of Art for a few months. Me and some of my friends wound up getting accepted to attend and then got a Helpmann scholarship to fund it. It starts next monday - anyone have any ideas what we should ask him?
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Ask him why he's so pompous. :smile:
     
  3. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Who? Never heard of him. :confused:
    And a Masterclass of what in particular?
     
  4. frontdrive34

    frontdrive34 Member

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    Ask him if I can be a depressed housewife in one of his shoots!

    I love his stuff as planned/worked as it is.
     
  5. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    It's a conceptual masterclass rather than technical - as you'd hope, since he doesn't actually fire the shutter on his own camera. I assume the pompousness comes with selling work with that big of a price tag... Even if his work isn't really up my alley, it'll be interesting to have a chat and get some insight into how a major name in photography works. The masterclass itself is largely portfolio reviews and a lecture or two. It's $600+ for the privilege of hearing the guy talk (thus we're lucky we got the scholarship).
    He shoots 8x10" Colour (I forget if its neg or slide), and a selection of frames are digitally combined to reach the final finished piece.
     
  6. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Like PDJ - I have to ask "Who is he??"
    Maybe I'm older than I thought I was. . . . . . :eek:
     
  7. Gaga

    Gaga Member

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    I'd like to know how he started out shooting because his way of photography is something that you need at least a few people to do, so how did he start?
     
  8. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    When's he gonna spend all that time and money making a whole movie rather than one still?

    I have one of his big expensive books and I seem to waver between really liking one image and being completely turned off by the next superficial and highly derivative construction. I'd turn up if it was free!!

    p.s. congrats on being selected to attend. don't be too modest now!
     
  9. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    Couldn't agree more Tony. ABC TV runs the whole megillah doco from time to time, he seems a frustrated art director to me.

    However, there's more, free and in Sydney:

    http://sydney.edu.au/sydney_ideas/lectures/2011/gregory_crewdson.shtml
     
  10. nick mulder

    nick mulder Subscriber

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    The argument (that I'm not sure he's made) of resolution in 8x10" is wasted in stacking focus and post compositing - why not shoot smaller format digital ?
     
  11. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    From my standpoint, why use light rays. Ray tracing software will eventually accomplish all that he does and more.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ask him what his favorite image is ( his or not his ) and why
     
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  15. jford

    jford Member

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    Ask him whether he's a director of photography, an art director, a lighting designer or a photographer. His work ends up being confused if you ask me. I agree with Tony; I waver between enjoying the scale and the effort involved in creating a single image, and then being completely put off by the over-worked result. He's kind of like Cindy Sherman except with less cultural weight behind him.

    John.
     
  16. trotkiller

    trotkiller Subscriber

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    Crewdson's latest work, shot last year, in an abandoned film lot in Rome, was shot using a phase one p65 back on a 4x5 field camera.

    All of his modern work, including the 8x10 stuff, is all inkjet prints.

    He currently has an exhibition on in Stockholm. I just happen to be in Sweden on my honeymoon, and found the exhibit yesterday
     
  17. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    He is described on various high art web sites as a ("more or less" in one case) conceptual photographer. Conceptual art broadly viewed does engender disagreements among viewers, especially when it involves a crew of assistants butchering cows and sharks.

    One show description did raise my interest, I always wanted to order folk around like this:

    "Gregory Crewdson's new series of staged photographs, "Twilight" (1998-99, all Untitled), shows a suburbia run amok. People who can't take the subway to work grow obsessed with the underground, tunneling holes in their living rooms or digging gardens there. Or else they look up at the sky, from whence falls light--whether from the local traffic copter or from a tuneful spaceship out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we are not told. Look out your window in Crewdson's Lot and you'll see your pregnant neighbor alone in the street, stripped to her undies to take the cool evening air on her skin. Peek into a garage and you might find a woman building a pyre of flowers higher …"
     
  18. frotog

    frotog Member

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    "Conceptual artist"? Give me a break. In his wildest dreams. He's more like art photography's Thomas Kinkade what with all that phoney and maudlin pathos. This guy's a chooch. And if the photographs don't make that painfully clear then just ask some of his former assistants.
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Where is the concept in that, or more pointedly, what is he dreaming about? It's more akin to derangement than focused, visualised conceptualisation. Unhinged.
     
  20. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    I'm not seeking to defend Mr Crewdson's oeuvre, but it seems to me to be an extreme example of the practice of constructing the subject of the photograph in ideal conditions approach as opposed to observe the subject and make the best of the conditions in which it is found. Sometimes when Sydney throws up an extended period of lousy light I have a crack at still life and take some care with subject arrangements--wouldn't you?

    Mr Crewdson's images may be ultimately banal, but they are easier to grasp--conceptually--than Damien Hirst's assistants' work with skulls, sharks and cows.

    If nothing else a purchaser of a Crewdson print may be able to see why the damn thing cost so much; there's a TV series running on SBS about big moves, usually of buildings, which offers insight into the cost of closing down a street and urban facilities to do this sort of exercise, maybe they could do a series called "Monster Pictures"

    (what's a "chooch"? I could use that word)

    Regards - Ross
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a chooch ??

    at least he is doing interesting work, much more interesting than
    finding someone elses' tripod holes ..
     
  22. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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  23. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    He is doing a public lecture in Adelaide on Tuesday as well. I was going to attend, but it's a work day and all that (plus something doesn't sit right having to pay $20 to hear someone speak, unless its for charity).

    Love his work or hate it, it's out there and it's vastly different. I have no idea what I would ask him....
     
  24. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think his work is truly interesting. From a more technical end I wonder why he seems to never use depth of field (everything is always in focus) or why he tends to put his subjects smack dab in the middle -- I have my own ideas, but like to hear it from him. FWIW To call him kinkaid is laughable, to say he might be too deliberate, lacks nuance might be true, but I think that the deliberateness is part of what he is saying. One other thing about his work is the packaging/presentation. I would think that it would be a natural to present it as discarded snaps, postcards, clippings from a home and garden mag -- common mundane source/presentation -- more than 40"x60"s. Is the size a market thing or a message? Everything I have seen on display is huge -- which to me takes away from the message.
     
  25. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I would be willing to bet the why comes first. 'I don't really have one' or some such. And after a couple minutes explaining the why he will either relent and throw one out there or say something cerebral like 'The one I have not yet made'.
     
  26. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Considering that Greg is primarily a populist, that he can't help from photographing his tableaux in magic hour (stupid hour as my landscape friends sometimes call it) and that he seems to have a penchant for "enchanting" narratives (yes, I know, he's reaching for the uncanny but in the end he's more like Spielberg than Kronenberg or Lynch) I don't think the comparison to the painter of light is all that ridiculous. If you choose to believe his spiel you might believe his primary influences to be Spielberg, Norman Rockwell, Kubrick (center weighted compositions), O Winston Link, Edward Hopper and Robert Adams (sharp focus all the way across the frame). Of all those he comes closest to Spielberg. He'd be lucky to approach the zeitgeist the way Rockwell did. He doesn't stand a ghost of a chance in approaching the subtlety and depth of the others. Ultimately, it's a lot easier to control your "influences" than the most apt comparisons. And all things considered, I think, for better or worse, he's the high art world's version of Kinkade.

    "At least he is doing interesting work, a lot more interesting than finding someone else's tripod holes"

    Perhaps. However, your counter example evokes the ultimate shortcoming with Crewdson as a photographer (not as a art world maven) - he has no respect for Reality. "Finding someone else's tripod holes" reminds me of Mark Klett and co. work with the rephotographic project - a project that to my eye is far more conceptually interesting than anything Crewdson has done. Despite the fact that Klett lacks the hubris to describe this work as "uncanny" it strikes me as being far stranger than the tight-assed, overly aestheticized, highly derivative vision of this chooch.