Untitled from the “Twilight” series
Gregory Crewdson’s photographs are the results of constructed scenes that rework small-town America into something inexplicable. Each photograph is a single-frame narrative that presents the paranormal, the ordinary and the sensual simultaneously. This photograph is one of 40 that form his “Twilight” series; each is untitled and as elaborately staged as seen here. They are large-scale tableaux that truly mimic grand, narrative oil on canvas paintings with lurid colors and excessive detail. Truly blurring reality and make believe as each scene is shot in and around the town of Lee, Massachusetts but with Crewdson manipulating every minute detail to create his fictional narrative. His work fosters feelings of wonder and anxiety. With this specific image, you ask what is the woman looking at and gesturing to as she is lost in her reverie? Her head and eyes are tilted too far down to be gazing out the open window. Begging the questions: is this the Twilight Zone, have we just missed seeing her visited by an extraterrestrial? Or is the something a figment of her imagination? Since the woman is isolated in an eerily lit room and is wearing a nightdress, you feel as if you are stealing a glimpse of something terribly private, bordering on shameful.
In exploring the relationship between the domestic and the bizarre, Crewdson says he is drawn to capturing the twilight hour because it is a time when both natural and artificial light are possible. He also describes himself as an “an American realist landscape photographer.” However, his process is much more than shooting what he finds in America’s suburbia. He employs a cinematic, directorial mode of photography, involving a crew of dozens and weeks of planning and complicated, behind-the-scenes production.