Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson 1985-2005.
Photographs by Gregory Crewdson. Edited by Stephan Berg. Essays by Martin Hentschel, Martin Hochleitner, Urs Stahel and Stephan Berg.
Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2005. 200 pp., 80 color and 100 b&w illustrations, 11¾x10″.

Gregory_CrewdsonIn his own words, Gregory Crewdson says, “I am drawn to photography by some irrational need to create an image of a perfect world. I strive to create that perfection through obsessive detailing, through a weird kind of realist vision. When the mystery of the photography emerges, my irrational need to create a perfect world meets up with some kind of failure to do so. This collision between failure and compulsion to make something perfect creates an anxiety that interests me.” Crewdson creates a world of perpetual loneliness, of lucid dreams based in reality but not real. The subjects seem detached, alone, isolated. The title of Stephan Berg’ s essay, “The Dark Side of the American Dream,” encapsulates Crewdson’s vision. This wonderfully produced book is published in conjunction with the first European retrospective of Crewdson’s work. It showcases twenty years of images, ranging from his days as a graduate student to the present. (Samplings of Crewdson’s early work can be seen in his MFA portfolio housed at Yale University’s Arts of the Book collection.) Gregory Crewdson 1985-2005, features selections from his six major bodies of work: “Early Work,” “Natural Wonder,” Hover,” “Twilight,” “Dream House,” and “Beneath the Roses,” as well as behind the scenes production stills. Regarding Crewdson’s latest series “Beneath the Roses” Katy Siegel says, “[f]or the first time he expands his vision from the individual, private home to the public, shared spaces of commerce and sociality. In his effort to realize a subjective vision, Crewdson, amazingly, has grasped a social reality, just as the Hollywood films he has taken as his model embody enough reality to speak meaningfully to their audiences.” If you were to own any book by Crewdson, whether a longtime admirer or new to his work, this would be the one. – Larissa Leclair

Originally published in the Photo-eye Booklist, Winter 2005.