Known for flamboyantly staged settings of American neighborhoods and homes, Gregory Crewdson is a distinguished photographer born on 26th September 1962 in New York’s Brooklyn area. He studied from John Dewey High School. In his teenage years, he was a member of The Speedies, a punk-rock group. Let Me Take Your Photo, a song by them became an inspiration for Crewdson’s career later on. In addition, Hewlett Packard used this song in 2005 in their commercial campaigns to promote their digital camera. It was in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), when Crewdson was ten that he visited a retrospective of Diane Arbus‘s work and experience photography for the first time.
Half way through the 1980s, Crewdson went to SUNY Purchase, New York’s state college to study photography. Then he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University after his course of study. For his final thesis, he made portraits of Massachusetts’s residents belonging to the Lee area. It was in the same area that Crewdson made his later series, Natural Wonders from 1992 until 1997. It included photographs of insects, birds and mutilated bodies in mundane surreal domestic backgrounds. These photos were displayed in MoMA in an exhibition titled, Pleasures and Terrors in Domestic Comfort. Simultaneously he was working on, Hover – another series by Crewdson, however this time he worked in monochrome at an elevated height. These images were also set in the backyards and streets of Lee.
He has also been a professor at Cooper Union, Vassar College, Sarah Lawrence, and Yale University.
The photographer is represented worldwide by Gagosian Gallery and in London by White Cube Gallery. He has been a subject of a documentary titled Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters released in 2012.
His photographs are usually limited to a small American town but are cinematic and dramatic. They characterize of surreal and disturbing events. Using a large team, an elaborate stage is set and lighted before pictures could be taken. His style of photography has been influenced by films, such as The Night of the Hunter, Blue Velvet, Safe, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Vertigo. Other influences include Diane Arbus and Edward Hopper.
Between 1998 and 2001, Gregory Crewdson made a color series titled, Twilight. The images reminded viewers of Steven Spielberg‘s films. His recent photography reflects an increasingly complex, detailed and extravagant sets with lighting as done in Hollywood.
He has also published photo books. These include Hover: Artspace Books, 1995; Twilight: Photographs by Gregory Crewdson, 2003; Beneath the Roses, 2008; Sanctuary, 2010; In a Lonely Place, 2011; and etc.
Crewdson’s work has been exhibited in places like Yale University Art Gallery, 1988; BlumHelman Warehouse, 1991; Houston center for Photography, 1992; Chicago’s Feigen Gallery, 1993; Palm Beach Community College Museum of Art, 1994; Sweden’s Galleri Charlotte Lund, 1995; London’s White Cube gallery, 1995; France’s Galerie des Carmes, 1995; Japan’s Ginza Artspace, 1996; Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, 1997; Spain’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 1998; Sweden’s Kulturhuset, 2011; and many others.
Crewdson was given fellowships in 1991 and 1992 by the Aaron Siskind Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, respectively. The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture presented him with a photography medal in 2004.
Currently, Gregory Crewdson works and lives interchangeably in New York, New haven, and Lee.