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Gregory Crewdson’s Beneath the Roses is considered among the most renowned bodies of work from an artist who has made a career of producing cinematic photographs. A master of the somber and psychological, Crewdson’s large-scale and intricately crafted tableaus leverage the believability of photographs against the fantasy of his subject matter, charting distinctive paths of storytelling through still images. The resulting works portray a world that feels near while simultaneously formalizing collective anxieties within the context of banal American life.
In Beneath the Roses, Crewdson choreographs complex scenes within the streets and peripheries of small town America. Throughout this series, Crewdson’s subjects appear in abnormal yet familiar scenes which emit an undercurrent of terror. Through careful choreography, his work invites viewers ultimately to imagine themselves within the dystopian narratives and question the seemingly ordinary.
These are the settings for quiet narratives created with the help of large production crews and meticulously planned stagecraft both on location and in sound stages. In the 20+ years of working with this method of photographic production, his style has yet to be matched in consistency or ambition.
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Untitled (Summer Rain), 2003-2008
Untitled (Worthington Street), 2003-2008
Untitled (Merchant's Row), 2003-2008
Untitled (Man in Living Room With Hole), 2003-2008
Untitled (Maple St), 2003-2008
Untitled (Forest Gathering), 2003-2008
Gregory Crewdson is an artist based in New York.
He is a graduate of SUNY Purchase and the Yale University School of Art, where he is now director of graduate studies in photography. In a career spanning more than three decades, he has produced a succession of widely acclaimed bodies of work, from Natural Wonder (1992–97) to Cathedral of the Pines (2013–14). Beneath the Roses (2003–08), a series of pictures that took nearly ten years to complete—and which employed a crew of more than one hundred people—was the subject of the 2012 feature documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, by Ben Shapiro.
Gregory Crewdson’s photographs have entered the American visual lexicon, taking their place alongside the paintings of Edward Hopper and the films of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch as indelible evocations of a silent psychological interzone between the everyday and the uncanny. Often working with a large team, Crewdson typically plans each image with meticulous attention to detail, orchestrating light, color, and production design to conjure dreamlike scenes infused with mystery and suspense. While the small-town settings of many of Crewdson’s images are broadly familiar, he is careful to avoid signifiers of identifiable sites and moments, establishing a world outside time.