Gregory Crewdson

Look up the work of Gregory Crewdson online.

Watch this YouTube video about Gregory Crewdson and his work and consider the questions below. [accessed 24/02/14]

• Do you think there is more to this work than aesthetic beauty?
Gregory Crewdson’s work looks stunning.  The photographs he produces are so striking they’re difficult to look away from.  I want to look for every clue and don’t mind spending time doing so.  The depth of colours really emphasise the aesthetics in addition to directional lighting.

Part of the beauty within these images invokes some deep visceral meanings  coming from Crewdson.

gregory crewdson boy hand in dreainFig 1. Untitled – Boy with hand in drain (2001–2002)

In the documentary film ‘Gregory Crewdson’s Photography Capturing a Movie Frame’ by Ben Shapiro, Crewdson talks about the above image and goes into detail about his inspiration and where the idea came from.  As a boy he was always thinking about what is down there?  What lies beyond what we can’t see?  He has his own questions and poses them to his audience through his photographs.

• Do you think Crewdson succeeds in making his work ‘psychological’? What does this mean?

Crewdsons photographs rely on your own imagination  to think about whats happening, obtain the clues and play the scenario over in your own mind.  The possibilities are limitless.  Crewdson is giving us clues about his own psychological state of mind whilst the story relies on your own psyche to draw the blanks.

The images are psychological in the same sense of a cinematic psychological thriller.  They really draw on the emotions and experiences of both the photographer and the viewer.  You never quite know for sure whats going on but you can come to your own conclusions.

gregory crewdson car in streetFig 2. Untitled (north by northwest) (2004)

This image was spoke about at length in the documentary.  It looks like a pinnacle scene in a psychological thriller.  Why does the street look deserted?  Where are all the people?  Why has the car stopped in the middle of the street?  Where is the driver?  They have clearly left the car, the drivers door is open.  Why is the passenger still in the car on her own?  Why isn’t she getting out?  Is she disturbed by the scene?  The fog is adding to the suspense.

All this questions are making me think about what’s happened here?  Its playing with my mind.  I’m searching for more clues hoping all will become clear.

• What is your main goal when making pictures? Do you think there’s anything wrong with making beauty your main goal? Why or why not?

I read recently that there are two types of photographer, the ones who take nice photos and those who tell stories.  I used to just want to take nice photographs and they were admired by everyone who knew me.  I then started taking photographs to include more clues as to the story I’m trying to tell and the compliments stopped coming from friends and family, they started coming from professional photographers and photography academics.

I don’t think there is anything wrong in wanting to produce beautiful photographs.  Lets face it, it what everyone wants.  If you can tell a story at the same time then you’ve just moved into the realms of being an ‘artist’.

Beautiful photographs are always a pleasure to view regardless of their intention.  When I photograph newborn babies the main brief is to make that baby look as cute as possible.  My clients already know all the other details about the baby, they don’t want to put clue in the photograph.  Theres nothing wrong with that and they are fit for purpose.  When taking photographs you always have to consider why your taking that photograph.  Is it to look good or to document something?  Regardless of the purpose its possible to make the photograph beautiful in the process.


Fig 1.  Crewdson, G. (2001-2002) Untitled – Boy with hand in drain. At (Accessed 13/08/17).

Fig 2. Crewdson, G. (2001-2002) Untitled (north by northwest). At (Accessed 13/08/17).


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