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When A Filmmaker Follows A Photographer

Gregory Crewdson's analogue photography series "Beneath the Roses" has been in the making for a decade now and filmmaker Ben Shapiro has been by his side the whole time. A behind-the-scenes documentary of the grueling creative process, "Greg Crewdson: Brief Encounters" premieres in the USA this month.

Inspired by realist painter Edward Hopper and surrealist photographer Diane Arbus, large-format lensman Gregory Crewdson makes (not takes) dramatically-stylized images of life in America.

The way he works is not simply a process of setting up his 8×10 camera, putting some people in front of the lens, and developing the photos. More often than not, his project Beneath the Roses requires that he employ a production crew of 50+ people, haul in serious equipment in trailer trucks, and scour the neighborhood for engrossing locations—or create his own from scratch.

It’s no wonder that director Ben Shapiro took an interest in Crewdson’s cinematic endeavor and decided to document the decade-long project. “When Crewdson takes the pictures, it’s almost a performance – him and his crew creating that “perfect moment” out in the world – in a sense his camera is just there to document that,” Shapiro told Hungry Eye.

“The other key to this project was that Gregory was very open and encouraging, and offered complete access of a kind that’s rare. I hoped that a film would come out of it.” And it did. Ten years later, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters is on its way to premiering by the end of October 2012.

“In fact, I joke that I divide my life into three distinct sections—pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, it’s like everything is possible. It all exists in the imagination, so there’s a great sense of expectation and hope and possibility. You can be so ambitious. Production is like combat, sort of. You’re just getting through the day, and then there are moments of beautiful grace, where everything comes together. Then post-production is dealing with the remnants of what you have, in a sense. So in a way, I like that least. Pre-production is great because it’s all about dreaming. Production is great because you’re making it and you’re in it. Then post-production is very depressing, because it’s just like you’re dealing with whatever residue you have, all the while trying to match those moments of grace.” (Gregory Crewdson, Aperture)

This is definitely a must-see movie for photographers and other creative types. So tell us, what’s your creative process like? :-)

Visit Gregory Crewdson Movie for more info.

written by denisesanjose

1 comment

  1. erinwoodgatesphotography

    erinwoodgatesphotography

    I've loved Crewdson's work for a long time now so it will be interesting to see the film!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam