Being a student interested in pursing a career in the photographic field Im constantly researching artists work in order to appropriate and gain my own ideas from theirs. Three artists that interest me the most is Gregory Crewdson, Cindy Sherman and Marian Drew. The three heavily utilise artificial light in order to convey a story and have a very unique way of portraying their idea.
One of Gregory Crewdson most famous photographic production ‘Beneath the Roses’ is a theatrical series with yet intensely real panoramic images, Crewdson explores the recesses of the American psyche and the disturbing dramas at play within suburban environments (White Cube, 2017). The photographs portray emotionally charged moments of seemingly ordinary individuals caught in ambiguous and often disturbing circumstances. So big in size yet so detailed, these visually aesthetic photographs blur the differences between cinema and photography, reality and fantasy, and the past and present.
Crewdson shot this series with an 8×10 film camera, this series was the last he shot with film before moving to digital as he felt it restricted him. He worked very closely with his Director of Photography whom he has worked with in previous series, his main focus is the light, Crewdson says its the most important thing about the entire enterprise (Weingart, 2017). The artist utilises Espon in order to print his works, he likes to print them on a very large scale and this way the audience is able to analyse the image and see it for its detailed beauty.
The American feminist artist Cindy Sherman 1954 is famous for the Untitled Film Stills series (1977-1980) that consist of black and white images of the artist posing in different stereotypical female roles. She used vintage clothing, wigs and makeup to create the various looks which she then photographed in alone, unguarded moments of reflection, undress, or in conversation with somebody outside of the frame (Tate, 2017). The photographs are set in various locations including her loft apartment and outside in urban and rural landscapes.
She took many of the pictures herself using a extended shutter release, the images taken outdoors, required a second person to take the photograph, she would ask her partner, friends and family to help her with this (Tate, 2017). Sherman’s father took #48, in which she appears as a vulnerable young woman waiting with a suitcase at the side of a darkening country road.
Containing 69 black and white images taken with a film camera, 8.5×11 inches in size, with no titles or captions, the “Untitled Film Stills” became Sherman’s most famous work. There is no single character in the stills nor is there a common narrative. Instead, there is a collection of personas, each created as a function of framing, lighting, distance, and camera angle to reference in a confronting way the stereotypical woman and how they’re displayed in the B-grade films of the 1950’s (Schweitzer, 2014).
Marian Drew is a photographer best known for her series ‘Australiana’, the artist creates still life memento mori’s influenced by both Vanitas and 18th century European still life painting (Light journeys, 2015). Each still life depicts an Australian native animal placed on a table with linen and other domestic objects such as fine china, candles, fruit and vegetables. Each image has been beautifully lit, depicting the various settings through light and shadow, carefully composing each of the objects and native animals to create an uneasy stillness.
Drew photographs her still life images in a dark studio using long exposure and a torch light to paint the areas of light into the image. The photographs are exposed onto medium format film, requiring experiementation and bracketin,g as Marian Drew does not see the final effect of this ‘painting with light’ until after the film has been developed.
Overall, researching artists like these that obtain the same photographic style as myself gives me knowledge on their material and conceptual practice, which influences and assists me during the brain storming process when creating my own artworks.
White Cube, 2017, Gregory Crewdson, Beneath the Roses, viewed 6 March 2017, <http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/gregory_crewdson_beneath_the_roses_hoxton_square_2005/>
K, Weingart, Petapixel, An interview with Gregory Crewdson, viewed 6 March 2017, <https://petapixel.com/2016/05/18/interview-gregory-crewdson/>
Tate, 2017, Tate, Cindy Sherman, viewed 6 March 2017, <http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sherman-untitled-film-still-48-p11518>
LARB, 2017, Cindy Shermans ‘Unitled Film’ Stills, Los Angeles Review of Books, viewed 6 March 2017, <https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/cindy-shermans-untitled-film-stills/>
Light Journeys, 2017, Marian Drew, Light Journeys, viewed 6 March 2017, <http://lightjourneys.org.au/artists/marian-drew/>