Neighbourhood Dreamscape – The Incredible Work of Gregory Crewdson

If you’re not familiar with the work of American photographer, Gregory Crewdson, then you’re truly missing out. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you fix that!

Crewdson’s style is visually stunning in its presentation, but often “mundane” in its subject matter. Many of Crewdson’s images take the absolutely ordinary; a small town neighbourhood, sitting in front of a mirror, or taking a shower, but the way he presents them gives them an ethereal, dream-like quality.

The way that Crewdson composes his images is very reminiscent of a feature film. In fact, many of his scenes are captured using the same equipment found in motion picture productions.

Many have described Crewdson’s work as “unnerving”, and while he himself describes his images as essentially “optimistic”, it’s not hard to see why some of the images can be unsettling.

Crewdson’s use of nudity in his work, in particular, can be unsettling. By placing characters in little to no clothing in these otherwise completely ordinary scenes, Crewdson is adding a layer of deep vulnerability to the piece.

However, despite each one of his images being very filmic and narrative, Crewdson has admitted that there is no single narrative in each image, and that he isn’t interested in what came before the image, or what happens after, he is only interested in that single, isolated moment. This leads to images where the viewer is free to develop their own narratives for the scene.

Crewdson has previously said that he is “disappointed” with each of his images in a way; “that’s the nature of representation. No matter what it will disappoint, it will fail in some way.”

This is a very interesting idea for a photographer. A little disappointment with our images is not such a bad thing because it keeps us focus on improving, on chasing the impossible – the perfect image.