"Position... and HOLD"

Elena Soboleva
Nov 16, 2012 7:25PM

The artist is keenly observing people's reactions. For the master of staged photography, all of whose works are elaborately choreographed sets, each with the production value of an independent film, this feels completely out of control. Gregory Crewdson is attending the screening of his new documentary, Brief Encounters, by filmmaker Ben Shapiro that has been ten years in the making. 

Watching the film feels much like seeing behind the magician's  veil; the audience is awed to see the meticulous construct of the illusion. Though this is no simple stunt, but rather a ceaseless pursuit to capture something fleeting. As Crewdson explains: "My pictures are the moments between moments" and the film is the moments around that.  

The feeling of transience is integral to the tension inherent in his work and why Crewdson's photographs are set at dusk and twilight. Those times of day "people transition from public to private, from work to home" and in the moment of flux,  reveal their fears, desires and anxieties.  

As the film culminates, viewers witness apparition coming to life. The fog machine sweeps through, film stock loaded and from his elevated crane, overlooking the scene, the artist yells "position...and hold!" hoping that some of the magic is caught on film.

Elena Soboleva