am 2. April 2008
The first thing Russell Banks mentions in the book's introduction is the comparison between Crewdson's work and Hollywood. Not surprising of course because the photos are produced like the movies only here it's one shot at a time. Looking at the fascinating production photos at the back of the book I'm reminded of Winston Link, another photographer who went to endless trouble for the one shot and mostly in small town America, too.
Crewdson provides you with forty-nine content rich photos, you have to provide everything else. Maybe the plates should have been loose in a box making it easier to create an ever changing scenario according to their sequence. I thought the small town setting ideal for these tableaux, the streets, houses and people seem to fit together and allow the viewer to focus on characters and their lives.
I was rather disappointed though with part of the book's production. The photos, thankfully suitable larger than those in Twilight, are only printed in 175dpi. These images are saturated with detail and texture and I would have thought a minimum of 200 or preferably 250dpi would be necessary to bring out their quality. So many of them have a long depth of field but also feature some small detail or frozen action that is important: a person in a car, the items on a bedside table or people seen through the window of a motel room.
Like Twilight the back of this book has chapters on Location and Soundstage, both have production shots (unfortunately not captioned) and drawings to show the amazing amount of work that goes into these photos. A look at the Production Credits also confirms this (and reinforces the movie connection) with Lighting, Best Boys, Gaffers, Key Grip, Special Effects, Prop Masters, Wardrobe, Transportation, Hair and Make-up, Casting, Catering, Legal and more. Oh yes, let's not forget Swamp Design by Buzz Gray, too.
Overall a remarkable book but if you are new to his work have a look at 'Gregory Crewdson 1985-2005' (ISBN 9783775716222) which includes twenty plates from Beneath the Roses.