Design Knowledge Intermediary
Photographer Gregory Crewdson captures the dark side of rural America

A profound and eerie silence pervades the work of American photographer Gregory Crewdson. Nobody talks, nobody ever seems to laugh or smile. There's beauty but also sadness. Alone or in pairs, everyone is lost in their own thoughts or asleep.

Crewdson carefully constructs his tableaux and then bathes them in soft, suffusing twilight, real and artificial. Then he takes the photograph. Something has happened or is about to happen; we don't know quite what.

Crewdson believes that it's not enough to make a beautiful image. Something else has to be going on, "an undercurrent of something psychological or dangerous or desirous or fearful."

I met Crewdson in an upstairs office at London's Photographers' Gallery. For the first time, the entire gallery has been given over to the work of a single artist.

'Open-ended and ambiguous'

Crewdson has always used small town America in his photographs, but here he's shifted into more remote, more isolated countryside. He's always been attracted by the ordinary, the anonymous and the timeless, preferring that we can't quite place or date his images.