Let Me Take Your Photo: Gregory Crewdson

Andréa Fernandes

As American photographer Gregory Crewdson celebrates his 46th birthday today, let's take a look at his life and methods. (Shown above is one of his untitled photographs from 2004.)

1. Remember that song "Let Me Take Your Photo" that played during Hewlett Packard's digital camera commercials? The song was the first single released by The Speedies, a punk rock band. Crewdson and his friends Eric Hoffert and Allen Hurkin-Torres had formed the band as teens.

2. During his childhood, Crewdson would sometimes try to eavesdrop on his psychoanalyst dad's sessions (his office was in the basement). Crewdson explains, "I could never really hear anything. All I knew was that it was secret and that it was forbidden. And there you have it. That's my work in a nutshell.

3. Crewdson's photography, often compared to cinematography, has been influenced by several films. Crewdson lists Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," "Rear Window," and "Shadow of a Doubt," plus Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," David Lynch's "Blue Velvet," Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter," and Todd Haynes' "Safe" as among those that have impacted his work.

4. Crewdson remembers "almost exclusively" through images. He has said that he has a very difficult time thinking linearly: "That is why I would make a truly terrible film-maker. I can not think in terms of continuity. I have no idea what happens before or after my images.

5. Operating either on location or on a sound stage, Crewdson employs a production crew of about 40 people, including lighting, set, casting, and costume crews. The productions are underwritten by the three galleries that represent Crewdson, though the exact costs aren't disclosed. Whatever the expense, it's worth it, since Crewdson prints can sell for $80,000 to $150,000 each, in runs of 10.

A larger version is available here. Fans should check out Crewdson's galleries on Luhring Augustine (his American gallery), artnet, and the Broad Art Foundation; aperture's interviews with Crewdson on his process and production; the Boston Globe's behind-the-scenes photos of a Crewdson shoot; CBS' "Portrait of a Photographer" video on Crewdson; Ovation TV's "Close Up" video on Crewdson; and these two interviews with Crewdson. Current Exhibitions featuring "Feel Art Again" artists:Gregory Crewdson: Beneath the Roses (Cincinnati, OH: through October 5, 2008)Rothko (London, England: through February 1, 2009)New York City Waterfalls (New York City: through October 13, 2008)Pat's Quilts, feat. P. Buckley Moss (Waynesboro, VA: through September 30, 2008)Sol LeWitt (Mountainville, NY: through November 15, 2008)José Clemente Orozco: The Graphic Work (Boca Raton, FL: through December 7, 2008)Sol LeWitt: Drawing Series"¦ (Beacon, NY: through September 2009) Special thanks to ARTINFO for the exhibition details. "Feel Art Again" appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at feelartagain@gmail.com with artist suggestions or details of current exhibitions.