This week I saw the Q&A with the director of the documentary 'Close Encounters', a film about the American photographer Gregory Crewdson. In this informative piece, we are shown the cinematic scale of his photographic shoots, where we see the anxiety, the loneliness and paranoia of people. Inside each carefully, obsessively composed scene, we glimpse some of the secrets we, as a people, hold deep within ourselves; of its heaviness, pulling its character down under the weight of its own matter.
And, like the painter Edward Hopper (clearly one of his biggest influences), we see the disconnection, the gulf that exists between people, of the essential aloneness of what it is to be human; where we are born, live and die alone within the central nature of our being, viewing the world outwards, from our own perception and sense of self.
Most of Gregory Crewdson's work is shot at twilight, where the light takes on another quality; something mysterious, mesmerising, an otherworldly feel. If it is not shot at magic hour, then it is taken at night, where dreams and nightmares crash together, enveloping each scene in a world that resembles David Lynch's 'Blue Velvet' - a dark, ugly underbelly seething from under the surface of the gardens, surrounded by their white picket fences of superficial normality. And, like Edward Hopper, we are shown moments where something dramatic, out of the ordinary, terrifying even, has taken place, or is about to burst into being. With his pictures we are left with the realms of our imagination to fill in the blanks, where his imagery burns itself into the inside of our minds like a laser, etching itself vividly on the backs of ones eyes - the detail so sharp, so rich and textured, unsettling.
His images are like nothing else I have seen in photography, something so much closer to a Hitchcock movie; a peeling back of the surface, a revelation to the suffering of psychology within this fragmented world, where we seem to stand together, and yet so apart. We know one another, but are strangers at the same time. This is a place where secrets take form in an exterior world, manifesting from secrets and fears, and where each frame is fixed onto large format film - and there, within his work, we catch a glimpse into the frailty of modern existence, of what it is to think and to despair, to be afraid and cut off from the essential unity of life and matter.