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Author Topic: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs  (Read 6175 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« on: January 12, 2016, 01:03:38 PM »

http://time.com/4166380/discover-gregory-crewdsons-new-surreal-photographs/?xid=fbshare

Executive summary for the uninitiated:

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Mr. Crewdson takes photographs the way a director makes a movie. He comes up with a concept and composes a scene on location—often with a crew of 40 people. “I don’t even like holding a camera,” he says. “I see myself as a picture maker, where I’m interested in the thing that’s happening in front of me.”

Another article on the same subject: http://www.wsj.com/articles/gregory-crewdson-when-photos-meet-the-movies-1452277074

Zorki5

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 02:41:33 PM »

There are great many examples of very, very similar techniques in works of pictorialists.

For instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Holland_Day

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Neighbors in Norwood, Massachusetts assisted him in an outdoor photographic staged photography re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 08:22:31 PM »

Where is there a good online presentation of GC's work? I could only see two small photos from the articles posted. The first link I clicked on the image and it takes me to a blank page. Why do galleries seem to always have problems with their online sites.

I really don't see a cinematic look to his work but I do see the setup for each scene as if preparing for a movie shoot. Clearly downsizing for web viewing really screws up the texture and color because I can't believe they're that ashen and dreary looking.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 09:08:31 PM »

The first link has seven images viewable full size, no?

GrahamBy

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 09:44:58 AM »

Interesting... not really surreal to my mind, maybe just subtely hyper-real, rather like the early paintings of Lucien Freud.

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GrahamBy

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 10:00:58 AM »

He certainly gets to work with good models: Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow...

https://gregorycrewdson.wordpress.com/son-oeuvre/dream-house-2002/
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Michael West

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 02:57:42 PM »

http://time.com/4166380/discover-gregory-crewdsons-new-surreal-photographs/?xid=fbshare

Executive summary for the uninitiated:

Another article on the same subject: http://www.wsj.com/articles/gregory-crewdson-when-photos-meet-the-movies-1452277074

Perhaps Im just too old to get how these images have been defined as surreal. In my youth surreal was the territory of  Salvador Dali.

Im not certain that the strict definition of surreal is.?
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 04:11:52 PM »

The first link has seven images viewable full size, no?

Whoops! You're right, Slobodan. I think I didn't scroll far enough down and immediately saw my cursor change hovering over the image and clicked on that first which brought me to a blank page.

Now that I've seen all seven enlarged I'm getting the feeling they're more painterly than cinematic. There's no absolute black in any of the images. Nice smooth and airy low contrast tonal transitions with plenty of hard edges to contrast against.

They all appear like low dynamic range paintings similar to Vermeer's work. On shots of distant outdoor scenes the people look like they're pasted in as a composite. They don't cast a shadow. I'ld expect more realism and detail from a large format capture. Maybe too much post processing is the cause.

It's more creepy and disturbing than surreal especially the "The Basement" and "Father and Son".
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GrahamBy

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2016, 04:19:10 AM »

It's more creepy and disturbing than surreal especially the "The Basement" and "Father and Son".

Yes, and I'd say the not-quite-realistic look is deliberately chosen to achieve this, rather than being an accident of processing.

By the way, I notice that on the gallery site one of his images is listed as printed on Epson PPG, so I guess he's not too troubled by the opinion that the Epson watermark on the back makes the print look "cheap"  ;D
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FranciscoDisilvestro

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2016, 06:12:38 AM »

The definition of surreal must have changed in the last few years and I did not notice.

GrahamBy

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 06:49:49 AM »

The definition was never very clear:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealism

The one common element is the notion of dreams and dream-like states: the not-quite realistic images by Crewdson could well fit into that. Not everyone has dreams as exotic as Dali :)
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GrahamBy

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 06:53:58 AM »

The more I digest his images, the more impressed I am. The "generic" art-photo attempts to vehicle fairly typical emotions: wonder, desire, admiration, romanticism etc... whereas Crewdson's latest batch make me feel "... uh, something is weird here, what's going on?..."
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pcgpcg

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 11:39:14 AM »

Thanks Slobodan. My first reaction - reminds me of Andrew Wyeth.
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Nelsonretreat

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2016, 08:42:35 PM »

Obviously 'surreal" is a different genre in photography than in painting!

I'm struggling to see what is surreal about these photographs. They are, in fact, hyper real. The images are anchored and designed around a carefully stage-managed reality. That is not the same as surreal. With the surreal we are taken into a realm that cannot possibly exist in the real world. None of these photos fall into that category. There is, in some, a dream-like quality but again , not surreal.

Sorry to be pedantic but when words are misused it makes our language less precise. Look at what happened the word 'existential'. It is now used by jackasses trying to sound intelligent instead of the word 'actual' or 'real' as in 'existential threat'.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2016, 08:51:06 PM »

Obviously 'surreal" is a different genre in photography than in painting!...

Or in common usage, as per a thesaurus:

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unreal, bizarre, unusual, weird, strange, freakish, unearthly, uncanny, dreamlike, phantasmagorical.

Words can have more than one meaning.

Isaac

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2016, 11:17:46 PM »

There is, in some, a dream-like quality but again , not surreal.

Surreal, not surrealistic.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 11:22:49 PM by Isaac »
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Nelsonretreat

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2016, 04:06:13 AM »

Or in common usage, as per a thesaurus:

Words can have more than one meaning.

The trouble with the Thesaurus is that it gives all possible variations in alternate words but totally devoid of context.  In language, context is so often what dictates our choice from a possible list of words.  If your premise that the thesaurus allows the use of any words devoid of context then all the words you provide are pertinent to these photographs -  unreal, bizarre, unusual, weird, strange, freakish, unearthly, uncanny, dreamlike, phantasmagorical.

Perhaps you are right these photos are freakish. Indeed they might be uncanny. They are definitely bizarre.

In a forum devoted to photography as art the context is clear and any student of art has a very clear understanding of what surreal means.
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Nelsonretreat

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 04:08:35 AM »

Surreal, not surrealistic.

Not sure why I appear in this message. I have no idea what this means! Did someone use the word surrealistic? 
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2016, 10:02:31 AM »

.... In a forum devoted to photography as art the context is clear and any student of art has a very clear understanding of what surreal means.

A forum member recently posted a thread "Impression Nr. 1, Arran." Should we conclude that the post should only be understood in the context of Impressionism?

Isaac

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Re: Gregory Crewdson’s New Surreal Photographs
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2016, 12:46:49 PM »

In a forum devoted to photography as art the context is clear and any student of art has a very clear understanding of what surreal means.

Not sure why I appear in this message. I have no idea what this means! Did someone use the word surrealistic?


In a forum devoted to photography as art the context is clear and any student of art will clearly understand that Crewdson's photographs are surreal without being surrealistic.
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