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Staging reality

American photographer Gregory Crewdson wants to gauge Mumbai’s reaction to his elaborately constructed photographs, reports Jigna P.

art and culture Updated: Oct 07, 2009 20:17 IST
Jigna P

Known for constructing elaborate sets and using an entire film crew for just one photograph, Gregory Crewdson is showcasing 14 large size photographs at Sakshi Gallery, selected from the series of 50, Beneath the Roses.

“There’s a definite theme of beauty and sadness, the mysterious and the mundane in these photos. It also tells of loneliness and it’s open-ended,” says the 48-year-old photographer who, as a teenager, was part of a punk rock band. Perhaps, one of the band’s hit songs; ‘Let me take your photo’ foretold what he would pursue later.

The photographs depict everyday scenes in surreal moods in America. Crewdson wanders around alone, sometimes for days and months together to find the right location. False lighting, experts from Hollywood, false rain, actors, sets et a;l. “My photographs are like cinematography,” he says. His photos have often been described as a whole movie condensed into a single shot.

The presence of a limited number of humans, is one of the ways he narrates a story. “I believe an artist tells one central theme in different ways,” says Crewdson who created this series from 2002 to 2008.

Among all the untitled photographs is a chilling image that of a mother staring at her 2-month-old baby, a spooky figure of a little girl sitting on a large bed and another one of an old man gleaming in the light of the television on him,
creating his shadow on the wall.

“Most of the time, the frame is all in my head, from what I must have seen in movies or in real life, but I keep space for unexpected things and elements,” he says.

Ask Crewdson if he would shoot in India, and he says, “I am amazed to see so many people over here. Getting a shot here would be a challenge for me,” he laughs. He adds, “I am waiting to hear the response of the Indian viewers to my photographs clicked in America.”