Staging And Creating Photographs From One's Imagination

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by jake_tauber, May 30, 2004.

  1. In today's Sunday New York times (May, 30) there's an interesting
    (to me) article on Gregory Crewdson who creates elaborate movie like
    sets/scenes and then photographs them.

    A number of other artist/photographers are working in the same genre
    creating "scenes" with and without people. Some who are well worth
    checking out are: Robert ParkeHarrison, David Leventhal, Kahn &
    Selesnick, Sandy Skogland, James Casebere and Nic Nicosia to name a
    few notables.

    What’s interesting (again to me) is they are using photography, a
    medium historically known for capturing reality to “document” scenes
    they have created from their own imaginations. Almost always the
    scenes and therefore the images are somehow odd...some more overtly
    strange than others. In viewing them, your mind (perhaps, again,
    just mine) is saying "photograph", but the images are not of
    anything actually found in the real world, unless of course you live
    in a small town outside of Cleveland…sorry...just being
    frivolous...and isn’t that what this is all about?

    If there is a question here, and I’m not certain there is, what do
    you think of this "manufactured...created out of whole cloth" sort
    of work? I find it fascinating and in many ways like painting, but
    you may have a different opinion. What do you think?
  2. I forgot to say that all the work I'm refering to pretty much uses traditional photography methods and is NOT created in a computer which for me is another conversation completely and which you can feel free to have in some other thread.
  3. Personally I love the work of Crewdson and many of the others. You can add Teun Hock to the list as well. It is quite reminiscent of the early photographers especially those of Rejlander. Even Daguerre was quite famous for his monumental diorama paintings in Paris, which were all the rage at the dawn of photography. I'm thankful that there are those out there with the skill, vision and drive to produce works like these.
  4. This is olds not news. I have seen photographers do this my entire life. Albeit, it is often done under the guise of cinematography.
    This is not to say I do not consider it an interesting thing to do, it is just simply not revolutionairy. :eek:)
  5. It's old news even as still photography.
  6. Never said it was "new"...just curious as to what people think of this sort of work. Artists/photographers have been painting/shooting bowls of fruit since the media were created. However lately, this staged work is seemingly more ambitious than ever.
  7. I saw a show of Crewdson's in Sheboygan, Wisconsin about five years ago and I liked it very much. His work may not be entirely new but it is none the less creative and thought provoking. He is also one of the most successfull and well known fine art photographers in the U.S. When you are one of the big boys like Crewdson, the petty little people come out of the woodwork like termites to snipe away in fits of envy and jealousy. I am glad for his success because he seems like a decent chap and, it seems to me anyway, that he did it with talent, imagination and hard work.
  8. Well said Tim Holte. Especially the last line. How many of us have the dedication or patience to spend that many years on a vision.
  9. I like David Leventhal's work very much. That big Polaroid is an amazing tool in his talented hands.
  10. I think that apart from the difference in the method used to create them, images such as Crewdson’s are almost exactly like painting. (Couldn’t be done by a painter? Sure it could. The photo-realists showed that painters could do "photography" just as well as photographers could do "painting"). His stuff is pure pictorialism, leavened with a little post-modern irony ala David Lynch. An interesting question is, if Crewdson were in fact painting this stuff instead of engineering it the way he does, would it still get the kind of attention it does? That is, is it being appreciated more for the process it represents rather than for the final work itself?
  11. Dave, I do believe that if you ever saw his work in person, you would change your mind. His photographs are more impressive than most modern paintings I have seen. Hold your socks on when you see the huge images live because they are special. Let me know when you do and tell me if I was full of Wisconsin bologne.
  12. jbs


    You may want to take a look here... and here... for similar discussions. as well as here ... for interesting observations loosely related to your topic.....;)....J
  13. Thanks, Jay B.
  14. it's a real picture of something that never was...

    it is affective, kind of like msg in cooking or nutrasweet in my coffee.

    he's using the 'real' and composing with it to affect. the use of photography makes it accessible ...

    "In viewing them, your mind (perhaps, again, just mine) is saying "photograph", but the images are not of anything actually found in the real world..."

    i wish my mind could still say ' photograph ' ...

    this kind of work is more 'filmic' ? you know, sets, a construct before the lens etc... it's not a movie and it's ain't f/64 manifesto! not that Gregory should care! he's happy playing with his lego - let's leave him alone!
  15. Jake;

    Your question has me thinking about the pictorial/romanticist era of early photography, which exhibited a theatrical staging to the compositions.

    This may be related, in antiquity, to "still life" paintings, which are also stagings of a sort. And theatre, which dates back to at least the Classic Greek era, is replete with "stagings", or re-enactments.

    And then there's portrait photography, which is also loosely linked by this concept of staging to theatre and painting.

    My personal interpretation would be that "staging", as practiced in photography and other arts, is more the rule than the exception. I might even be so bold as to mention images from the popular visual media, staged by politicians for their own purposes. Giving photo-journalists a "photo-op" is a common method for conducting such a staging.

    Fabrication is essential to image making. Which is why the premise that cameras record the truth is so powerful, and dangerous, when used in the hands of the powerful and the dangerous.
  16. You may also want to check out Jeff Wall, he has a lot of staged work.

  17. tableau vivant; It's a type of artwork that can be done in many mediums, like Still Life, Figurative, Narrative, Illustration, Portrait, Landscape, etc. <p>Photography is not restricted to a simple documenting of serendipitous confluences... t

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