November 27, 2006
The pictures that have made Gregory Crewdson famous, his large scale tableaus, don't do much for me. I admire their artistry and recognize why they have created such a stir in the art world, but having worked on movie sets, they look familiar, and I always wonder, why not just make a movie?. Add star models and that feeling/question is heightened. For me the big cinematic images lack the kind of emotion and truth I look for in photography...
...but the mark of a great artist is someone who is willing to take risks and exhibit work not normally associated with his signature style and Crewdson has done this in a small and lovely show titled simply Fireflies now showing uptown at Skarstedt Fine Art. According to the show notes the pictures were taken over two months of nights outside a cabin in Becket, Massachusetts in 1996.
Crewdson writes about the night of the show opening in this article.
Because these images are so subtle and dark seeing them on web doesn't don't do them justice. If you aren't near NY, you might be able to find a copy of the current issue of Blind Spot magazine which features work from the show on the cover and has semi-decent reproductions. A book with all 62 images is also forthcoming.
I don't know why these images took 10 years to come out, but I'm glad they did. Each is like a small poem infused with sweet smell of summer evening. Seeing them on the wall is something special.
related: nice review in the Village Voice