I don't intend to go into examining Crewdson's work in depth here - that's far to big a project involving comparisons with others such as Geoff Wall, Joel Sternfeld, cinema (and numerous directors), fashion photography, the history of painting and so on...
"On Main Street, Pittsfield Massachusetts lights are being rigged, props are being positioned and actors are taking their places. It looks like a movie, sounds like a movie and smells like a movie, but it isn't. All of this activity is to make a single photograph, by Gregory Crewdson.
"I work with a production crew that all come out of film. We work with cinematic lighting but we are only after creating one single perfect moment." (Gregory Crewdson, photographer)
Over an 11 day shoot in a variety of locations Crewdson's team will make a series of multiple exposures which will be digitally combined to make six final images. He'll produce an edition of six prints of each image priced at approximately $60,000. There's already a list of prospective buyers.
With his striking tableaux which combine Hollywood's production values with suburbia's bad dreams Crewdson has become hot property, confident that he has an audience who will appreciate, and if they can afford it, buy his work. For Crewdson the business and benefits of being a photographer feel very different from the experience of earlier generations. (From The Genius of Photography, BBC)
And I guess what surprises me is that - well, it surprises me. I find it a little hard to comprehend how someone can get worked up about how Crewdson produces his pictures rather than the pictures themselves. Love them or hate them (or be indifferent) - but that he has someone click the shutter for him - so what?