artnet Asks: Photographer Gregory Crewdson

Why is he one of the world's most famous photographers?

Photo: Daniel Karp.

Gregory Crewdson received a BA from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1985, and an MFA in photography from Yale University in 1988. Through epic production scale and integrated film technique, Crewdson’s photography reworks the mundanities of American suburbia into a stage for questioning of narrative culture and the human condition. Crewdson’s work is represented in many public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum. His newest body of work, Sanctuary, premiered at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2010, before a tour in Europe. He resides at Yale University School of Art as director of graduate studies in photography.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
In 1972, when I was 10 years old, my father brought me to the Diane Arbus retrospective at MoMA. Being surrounded by her work was life changing. I understood immediately the psychological urgency that can be conveyed with photographs.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Esther Terrace) (2006) Archival pigment print 58 1/2 x 89 1/2 in. (incl. frame) photo: courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (2006)
Archival pigment print 58 1/2 x 89 1/2 in. (incl. frame)
photo: Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

What inspires you?
I watch movies and television and listen to podcasts obsessively. I don’t like silence. But where I draw the most inspiration is from everyday life. I am struck by particular moments—singular static moments—as they pass by. They stay in my head, and, in fictive form, show up in my work.

Gregory Crewdson, Natural Wonder (1997) 32 x 40 in.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (1997)
32 x 40 in.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?
Edward Hopper’s Western Motel (1957).

What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished the third and final production for my new body of work, Cathedral of the Pines, and am in the midst of post-production.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled from "Twilight" (2001-02) Digital C print 48 x 60 in. Photo: courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (2001–2002)
Digital c-print 48 x 60 in.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

When not making art, what do you like to do? 
I do daily long-distance open water swims in lakes near my home. In the winter, I cross-country ski. It’s a necessary part of my creative life.


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