Gregory Crewdson – Twilight Introduction This body of work is about expressing and projecting subjects who suffer from dissatisfaction in a location where one would presume them to be tranquil and at ease within their confortable environment. Gregory Crewdson in all of his bodies of work like Bresson searches for the perfect moment, to blur the line between reality and fiction. As Gregory Crewdson says “when everything comes together, in that instance. My life makes sense” this statement is applied to the body of work Twilight. These images capture almost the before and after of a scene, caught in ‘the moment’ a snapshot of one time. Crewdson uses real life locations but adds surreal elements this helps combine the overall view of the juxtaposition between beauty and sadness and how close that line can often be. This is depicted by how the subjects are content but also in despair at the same time shown by Crewdsons use of body language, props and lighting. Demonstrating the contradiction people feel, one moment happy, the next filled with desire. It discusses the issue that we are flawed because we want so much more than we have and are ruined as when we get these things we desire what we used to have. Twilight is personal to Crewdson as it links to his interpretation of middle class within America, Crewdson’s background is within middle class America, he was brought up in this environment so is displaying what he has seen in terms of discontentment in an environment that many people aspire to be within. This is from his first hand experiences as a child. The scenes he creates are of graceful middle class, suburban America, but they display more than that by showing a realistic suburban America but
adding complex lighting and Crewdson’s direction of the actors and also the fact that Crewdson searches days on end searching for the perfect location. All of this combined is what gives Crewdson’s images such atmosphere and emotion, they visually represent what people in this enviroment feel. Purpose and Meaning Crewdson was driven to capture this body of work as he was searching to create a visual representation of social expectations, boundaries and repression in this specific environment, which is not expected to hold these conditions hence his use of these locations. Using this as a visual representation for how people living in these environments are feeling; ungratified by their current environment and situation. He’s trying to capture people’s emotions by visuals. This is Crewdson showing how the subject’s suburbia American life is not as blissful as the overall surroundings make it out to be. Crewdson’s decision to shoot at the time of ‘twilight’ is interesting because it is the time between sunset and dusk, where the surface of the earth is neither completely lit nor completely dark. This relates to his concept as the subjects are happy with the life they have achieved, but at the same time they are unsatisfied with what they have. They want more but they are not entirely sure what that is. Almost as in what they believed to be perfect is far from it, and they now long for what they once had but they cannot escape the world, the family, and life they have created. Often Crewdson directs his subjects sitting away from all their surroundings in mid thought these subjects are as ‘unresolved’ as the images. This is due to Crewdson’s use of framing. He chooses to commonly use the rule of thirds in his images, placing his subjects in one of the intersections which instantaneously draws the audience’s attention to the subject, this also distances the subject from their surroundings via the use of negative space which detaches them from their environment. Crewdson does this to demonstrate how these subjects are lost, not in a literal sense but how in that moment in time they are dislocated from reality, not interacting with their surroundings, trying to escape, trying to resort to a normal existence. Also using this type of body language adds to the enigma codes of the images as Crewdson is controlling what the audience see’s or knows, giving more questions for the viewer to have to reflect upon and answer this links to the staged Narrative genre and how Crewdson’s work conforms to this genre more than any other.
The lighting links to his conceptual practice, by lighting images during twilight specifically due to the juxtaposition, which constantly crops up in Crewdson’s work. He doesn’t want complete darkness upon his images but neither does he want too much light. This type of lighting adds to the fictional and ‘surreal’ element of the images as this time. "Twilight is evocative of that. Theres something magical about the condition." The mystifying nature of this lighting combined with strong artificial lights and certain backdrops, props and location create the ideal suburban America for Crewdson’s shoots. Above a standard picture of suburban America Below a Crewdson Image depicting Suburban America
He has shot it in a certain mind set trying to blur the line between reality and fiction; this is why he often has beams of light shining through his images, almost a sense of hope in this same old environment, as I believe it relates to this perfect middle class families who are caught in their ‘twilight’ what they once aimed for they are now running away from, the ‘American dream’ relates to how these people living in these suburban house are in competition with each other, always having to maintain this perfect family scene which Gregory is trying to depict is completely fake, hence the beam of hope shining throughout many of his images. Gregory crewdson images are influenced by film names like Steven Speilberg to David Lynch. The link to speilberg is straight forward, Speilberg is known for his extravagent film sets and his expedential use of lighting and props, Crewdson is directly influenced by this idea as his own images use the same complex film sets and extravagent lighting. David lynch was heavily involved in the surrealism movement known for his surrealist films and his unique style towards creating films like ‘blue velvet’ often containing elements that can disturb or mystify audiences, a style reffered to as ‘lynchian’. Surrealism is a ‘20th-‐century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter’. Crewdson often captures the moment between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ the moment when a scene is in full swing, like shown below, the image depicts a woman in underwear hunched as if she has just cracked and the ‘perfect’ world around her has cracked too, I believe this is what Crewdson is trying to capture, the falling apart of a scene. A surrealist Crewdson image:
Crewdson links directly to this as his is often considered a surrealist himself, working with fantasy and the juxta position of fact and fiction, often in the form of a subject placed irregulary in a scene confusing but dazzling the audience simultanesiouly, ‘mystyfying’ the audience just as david lynch would in his films. David lynch’s photography Awarding as many questions as it answers. All of crewdsons work is very personal to him and all of his work contains a psychological element to the images, I feel this links to crewdons relationship with his father. When Crewdson was growing up his psychonalsyt fathers office was located in the basement of his home. Crewdson although told to ignore the whole situation was forever intrigued by the situation and wonder about the conversations happening below. Since this Crewdson has used his interest his photography to also show a phsychological element in his images hence his heavy use of enigma codes, almost staging a scene that he believes many people are feeling, representing emotions with visuals.