Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 14, 2008

Create or Find?

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 3:37 pm

Gregory Crewdson Untitled 2004

Untitled, 2004 Photography copyright of the artist, Gregory Crewdson

With Gregory Crewdson’s recent cover photograph in the Spring 2008 issue of Aperture magazine, there seems to be a buzz about Crewdson’s art process. Such as being disappointed that he may not be the one who actually hits the exposure button.

Duh. It’s not who actually makes the exposure, but who decides whats in front of the camera lens or in the photograph.

Take a clue from the Crewdson article in Aperture, he sees parallels between himself with the directors of movies, not the camera operators of movies. He is not unlike countless advertising photographers or still life photographers who arrange, lite and create a set. What is different about Crewdson, perhaps is the scale of his set, unlike what many of us chose to use.

I alter what I photograph but working the scene. I change camera positions and focal lengths. I pick up trash if it does not suite my objective. I have even picked a weed if it did not work for a ‘natural’ landscape image. And have we not cloned out trash or something out of a picture after the fact? So what is the difference, we ‘alter reality’ to some degree. Even a photograph is not what is photographed, right?

Crewdson does not claim to be finding the decisive moment, which probably does need the photographer to decide when to make the exposure and perhaps press the button. And he does discuss Lee Friedlander as one who does find his landscape images.

Crewdson’s process is not good or bad, but different. And I do like some of his urban landscpe images that he makes. What about you?

Best regards, Doug

Update, I also found that Tim Atherton has completed a write up on Crewdson on his site, perhaps in a little more depth. Looking at some additional images of Crewdson beyond what I have seen to date, the other feelings I start to get for his work is rigidity, a little too plastic, such as a not so great and much overworked advertising photo. I least with a Wall photograph, I get a feeling of life from it. So maybe Crewdson is needing to have that absolutely fixed point of time and percision in his images. So I’ll go back and look some more;- )

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