ask him what his favorite image is ( his or not his ) and why
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.
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
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 …"
"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.
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