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The work of Hopper and Crewdson


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#1 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 07:45 PM

When home for vocation in MA the Williams College Museum of Arts had on exhibit the works of two artists that should have pursued Cinematography, the late Edward Hopper, a classic contemporary American painter and Gregory Crewdon, a photographer whose primary influence was Hopper?s paintings. It was fun to look at the very cinematic work of Crewdon and guess what lights he used, where. The first hyper-link shows a photograph that required over 100 lights. I?m sorry I couldn?t find larger photographs.


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Hopper's work- most of his subjects cater to a dominating light source
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#2 Nathan Milford

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 08:05 PM

I have a great book on Crewdson... the guy's stuff is absolutly fantastic. In the book it has production stills for each series... he uses many film lighting techniques.

One of his influences was E.T.... some of his work really shows that off.

If you like Hopper and Crewdson... look into Jack Vettriano.
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#3 Ram Shani

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 06:32 AM

hi

first time i look at crewdson work and i amazed great work

hopper is genous i saw all his work in retrospective in London 1 year ago he has dip influence on me he is my favorite!!
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 07:37 AM

If you like Hopper and Crewdson... look into Jack Vettriano.


Only an opinion, but I find Vettriano's work totally lacking in substance. It's as if he paints purely for posters and coffee table books.

Gregory Crewdson has a new exhibition/book called 'Beneath the Roses' coming soon (if it hasn't already...) Some of the stills have already been published, and it looks like a great collection.

John Register is another artist to look out for if you like Hopper's work.
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#5 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:42 AM

edward hopper and gregory crewdson shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence. btw, crewdson's primary influence (and that word is not nearly strong enough) is "close encounters..." by speilberg.

jk :ph34r:
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 11:37 AM

I think the Hopper/Crewdson comparisons are made by critics eager to able to describe one artist in terms of another. It's so much easier that way... ;)

I like the work of both, but I think the similarities are superficial.
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#7 Dror Dayan

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 12:20 PM

just have to say, Crewdson is my favorite photographer of all times, and probably the reason I switched from photography to cinematography. I realized that just now... thanks guys!
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#8 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 03:42 PM

its not even that i don't see the implied similarity, which is a vague sense of new england isolationism. it's more the fact that hopper is one of the greatest painters to ever live and crewdson is just a random, mediocre photographer.



as an example, here is some of andreas gursky's work. i'm not even really crazy about this guy, he was just the first contemporary photographer to pop into my head, but he's in a whole other league than crewdson:
http://www.artnet.co...eas-gursky.html

...and hey, while we're at it, how about this filmmaker's photos?
http://film.guardian...1226197,00.html

...and here's the work of a commercial photographer who i recall was doing some haunting, magic-realism type work. and keep in mind the sleepwalker series is a fashion story, he probably shot it in 1 night...2 at the most:
http://www.artnet.co...tworks_for_sale

not that i don't think crewdson's photos aren't pretty, because they truly are.

jk :ph34r:
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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

crewdson is just a random, mediocre photographer.


Wow. I don't really want to get into an argument about what is 'Art', but I really do need to take issue with this statement.

Crewdson's photographs are meticulously planned, involving a large crew (sometimes of near feature film size), the local authorities and residents of the town in which he is shooting, and often large and complicated sets. Hardly 'Random'....

His work also displays common and recurring themes and concerns, which are traceable throughout his work over a period of years. He takes a number of photographs of each scenario, discarding all but the one which he feels captures his intent. Again, not random.

As a photographer, he works with large format (8x10) negative film, and although he may not place the lights himself (anymore than a DP does) he is intrinsically involved in the process of lighting and framing. Hardly 'mediocre'.

You may not like his work, but to write him off in this way just displays your own ignorance of his work and methods.
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#10 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 04:55 PM

Gursky? Huh?! I can see why you think he's a good photographer, but what is he doing in this thread?
To me the similarities with Hopper are evident, since they both seem to be interested in showing a very specific moment in time. A regular or not so regular frame from a movie. I believe that we are so conditioned by the way movies unfold the narrative that, when watching these photos, there's some kind melancholic reaction. Both Hopper and Crewdson could never have made their work without the context of films. I don't care one bit about who was first or who is the better artist.
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#11 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 05:48 PM

when i say he's random, i mean as opposed to a celebrated genius like hopper. i agree crewdson's pictures are not randomly assembled. in fact, a little more inspiration and life may be one of the things they so sorely lack.

you are also correct that crewdson revisits the same theme again and again. and again. and again. the problem is that, unlike tarkovsky, his theme is really no more than a feeling, a tone. i've encountered smells with deeper meanings than his photos. and, btw, trust me: crewdson ain't throwing anything he shoots out.

what does shooting 8x10 and having a gaffer rig an 18k and a xenon raking a cross a bunch of mirrors have to do with being mediocre or not? his lighting is pretty, that's it... and are you telling me there's something especially good about his framing? i'd love to hear it.

you might be right; i may be ignorant about his "work and methods". but i've seen an aweful lot of his work including his wack photos from before he hired a gaffer and a camera operator...and i've probably forgotten more about shooting "large format (8x10) color negative film" than some folks will ever learn, so who knows? maybe i just don't see the genius you see. and my only point was that comparing gregory crewdson to hopper is silly.

as for gursky, he is a completely random (oh wait he shoots large format, he can't be random) example of a contemporary photographer who is taken far more seriously by credible artists and critics, used to illustrate how many great talents there are out there worth discovering. one of the reasons people come to this forum is to be exposed to new artists. knowing a thing or two about photography i'd like to point out some recommendations to this person who thinks gregory crewdson is really good, which he is not. i mean, what if your favorite museum had a show called "miles davis and brittney spears: two great musicians"? tell me you wouldn't think to yourself "that's a little weird..."

and by the way, you could make the obvious claim about photographers being influenced by films about just about any contemporary artist. the subject has been done to death. i mean for god's sake you're on the internet right now...

and "a specific moment in time"? yeah crewdson really nails that. wow. here, i'll help you:
http://www.google.co...cartier bresson

"I don't care one bit about who was first or who is the better artist."

ok. is it alright with you if i still try to make my point?


jk :ph34r:
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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 06:07 PM

...and hey, while we're at it, how about this filmmaker's photos?
http://film.guardian...1226197,00.html


Hey, I wasn't aware of these, thanks ! (Hauntingly reminiscent of not just Nostalghia but Mirror
- which I saw again in 35mm a few weeks ago, looked better than ever....




Both Hopper and Crewdson could never have made their work without the context of films.


Well from another angle, can you imagine Crewdson without photo-realist painting as a precedent as well ?
...I'm not sure I can, for all the CE3K, ET etc... this isn't a value judgement so much as a commemt..

-Sam Wells
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#13 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 06:15 PM

yeah, here's a link to the book at amazon.com. they are fantastic. a couple of them look like frames right from "the mirror". where did you see it, at BAM?

http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0500286140

jk :ph34r:
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#14 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 07:07 PM

and by the way, you could make the obvious claim about photographers being influenced by films about just about any contemporary artist. the subject has been done to death. i mean for god's sake you're on the internet right now...

and "a specific moment in time"? yeah crewdson really nails that. wow. here, i'll help you:
http://www.google.co...cartier bresson

"I don't care one bit about who was first or who is the better artist."

ok. is it alright with you if i still try to make my point?
jk :ph34r:



With all due respect, but to me you're not really making a point. You just say Crewdson is mediocre and Hopper is considered a great painter by many. Which is ok by me, but you don't convince anyone with bold statements alone, so what's the point of saying it then?
I wasn't making the claim that artists have been influenced by film and vice versa, i was just saying that there's a distinct style in Hopper and Crewdson's work that makes it cinematic. You can also find this in the work of Hubbard and Birchler. Not at all in the photography of Bresson, but that's just my opinion.

I very much like the subject matter of this thread, but it would be even more interesting if there was less bold statements and more nuance and explanation. But maybe that's what you get from being "on the internet right now".
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#15 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 08:00 PM

i'm sorry if i'm ruining your experience here with my bold discovery of the fact the gregory crewdson is a pretty mediocre artist. i don't really know what to tell you. you are welcome to enjoy his photos as much as you like, i just want you to know that there is a whole world of photographers out there that you should investigate. also, i simply don't buy the idea that he and hopper are somehow inextricably connected or share any more than a few superficial traits. if you can come up with a halfway intelligent argument for why i am wrong, i'll buy you lunch at the art school gallery cafe of your choice. hell, i'll take you to the whitney. you'd love it there.

gregory crewdson would be far better paired with teresa hubbard and alexander birchler. now you may be on to something, although i wouldn't want to have to go to that show.

jk :ph34r:
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 10:27 PM

If you don't share someone's enthusiasm for a particular artist, perhaps the polite thing would be to say nothing rather than put down the artist in question... or find a way to debate the issue that doesn't involve outright dismissing the value of the artist's work. Just a thought.

Generally I find it better in these forums to champion what we love more often that knock what we dislike, within reason. It's possible to be critical without being insulting, and publically calling people "mediocre" is an insult.
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#17 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 11:10 PM

i disagree. if you make art and put it out there you make yourself subject to critical judgement. i'd hate to think that, along with every other media outlet promising artistic criticism, this forum becomes a place where only positive affirmation is allowed. regarding that, david, you said:

"Generally I find it better in these forums to champion what we love more often that [sic] knock what we dislike, within reason."

so who decides what is "within reason"... or how much "more often"? hmmm, let me guess...

the bottom line is that if we are going to have a serious forum, than we must be prepared to hear negative reaction to the work discussed. and as far as "publically [sic] calling people "mediocre" is an insult" goes, i think you have your moderator cap on awefully tight. just a thought.

jk :ph34r:
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#18 Jason Maeda

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 11:32 PM

calling someone "ignorant" might be considered an insult. what do you think?

jk :ph34r:
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 01:12 AM

calling someone "ignorant" might be considered an insult. what do you think?


Err... two wrongs don't make a right? Sure, it's an insult and he shouldn't have written it. But he probably felt provoked.

Look, all I'm trying to say is that when someone is enthusiastic for some work of art or artist, it's extremely hurtfull to tell them that they are wrong for appreciating such art. It tends to lead -- as it has happened here -- to people throwing insults back and forth at each other. It's like telling them that they have an ugly kid or wife or something. I'm not saying it's a logical reaction (because it's not their kid or wife, it's a work of art by some stranger) but people aren't logical about the things they love. You hurt someone's feelings and they insult you as a response.

All I know is that if I announced here that I was passionate about some particular cinematographer's work and you told me that the cinematographer in question was a mediocrity, I might have hurt feelings because you were implying that I had no taste -- or bad taste.

If instead you told me that you did not share my enthusiasm for this cinematographer because of "x" reasons, we could possibly have a civilized discussion or debate and I would just put it all down to a difference in taste.

I've made this point before regarding other people's negative posts so don't feel that I'm picking on you in particular. I'm trying to make a general point to everyone.

This is probably an issue of personal temperament. You are clearly someone who is as passionate about what you hate as much as what you like, probably seeing it as one thing -- a passion for art. I don't have that tendency towards passionate dislikes in art I guess so it's hard for me to understand.
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#20 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 04:23 AM

calling someone "ignorant" might be considered an insult. what do you think?

jk :ph34r:


Actually Jason, I didn't call you ignorant. I said you were displaying an ignorance of Crewdson's working methods and practices. As I recall, you agreed.

If your "only point was that comparing Crewdson to Hopper was silly" then you should reread my post, where I agreed, saying that the similarities were superficial

To say things like "I've encountered smells with deeper meanings that his photographs' goes beyond constructive criticism into insult.

If, in fact, you have "forgotten more about shooting "large format (8x10) color negative film" than some folks will ever learn" perhaps you'd like to show us all some of your work so that it can be subjected to the same kind of criticism that you are fond of handing out.
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Wooden Camera

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