Jul 152012

Brief Encounters

Documenting an Artist


© Gregory Crewdson

Ten years ago photographer Gregory Crewdson gave a lecture on the many faces of his photography. Out of work and in the middle of a divorce, his work was gaining traction in the art world, but his life was falling to pieces. He returned to a rural town in Western Massachusetts where he put the pieces together. Up until this point, his work was either black and white images of suburbia or he constructed dioramas of grotesque scenes of sci-fi/nature scenes. The work garish and confused, but it had potential.

© Gregory Crewdson

In his secret retreat, he merged his interests and developed a style of image making that is closer to producing a film. The single images grew from tiny snap shots to entire movies, captured in a single frame. He got out of his slump, went on to become the Director of Yale’s Photography Program, pick up a blue chip gallery (Gagosian Gallery) and maintains sold out shows every year. How did he do it all? Check out the trailer from a new documentary called Brief Encounters.

And to all the parents out there, remember not all artists are broke. In fact some are fantastically wealthy and they did not achieve this over night. If you are nurturing an young artist in the household be patient. Trust me, the world does not need any more lawyers, politicians, or investment bankers.

To learn morn about Gregory Crewdson: https://www.artsy.net/artist/gregory-crewdson 


© Gregory Crewdson

  2 Responses to “Gregory Crewdson”

  1. Adam, thanks for continuing to profile other artists working in tangental spheres like Crewdson, it’s one of the main reasons i like your site and continue to frequent it. Many people particularly newer photographers working the streets might see his shots as the very antithesis of street photograhy, but if we think about HCB and how he would scope a scene, then hang out and wait for the prey to enter and construct his “moment”, this is simply that but taking it a step further/to the next level, with a 6 figure budget, lots of time, people and so forth.

    Regardless of the “street” moniker or not, it’s still photography and a damned intriguining and stylistic form at that (at least to me, but then i love cinema as much as stills so that’s probably why he appeals).

    PS your last paragraph reminded me of a famous Picasso quote that goes something like ““Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

    Good stuff, please keep it coming!

    • Hi Dave,

      Interesting you bring this up. I find that much of the web conversation is too hermitic. Photographers only referencing other photographers within their genres.

      Since I come at Art first and photography second, my daily interests land more in the art world. There are conversations happening that would be very useful to street shooters, but the information does not trickle down often enough.

      Crewdson holds a special place for me, because I had a chance to meet him and actually sat next to him and Wes Anderson at dinner one time. Good ol’Nobu.

      More to come soon, once I can catch a breather from the studio.

      Keep in touch.


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