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Geneva Anderson digs into art

Photographer Renata Breth will introduce “Brief encounters”— the new film about Gregory Crewdson, photographer of the perfect moment—at Sonoma Film Institute Friday, January 18, 2013

Photographer Gregory Crewdson is the subject of Benjamin Shapiro’s documentary “Brief Encounters,” which explores Crewdson’s meticulous process of creating and then photographing a “perfect moment” in the world.

Photographer Gregory Crewdson is the subject of Benjamin Shapiro’s documentary “Brief Encounters,” which explores Crewdson’s meticulous process of creating and then photographing a “perfect moment” in the world. The film screens this week at Sonoma Film Institute.

Photographer Gregory Crewdson constructs large-scale photographs of America’s Suburbia in which beauty and a strong sense of the bizarre converge  to create the perfect teaser for some unknown story.  Inspired by film, Baroque Tenebrist painters (Caravaggio), and his own imagination, Crewdson often depicts an almost frozen protagonist surrounded by beautiful chaos.  Not only is his work fascinating, with a distinct psychological factor, but so is his process, which is the subject of Ben Shapiro’s new film, Brief Encounters (2012, USA, 79 minutes).   The documentary will screen Friday (January 18, 2013) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (January 20, 2013) at 4 p.m. at Sonoma Film Institute on the Sonoma State University campus.  On Friday night only, the film will be introduced by internationally recognized photographer Renata Breth, chair of the photography faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College and a long-time fan of Crewdson.  Renata is sure to lead the discussion in an interesting direction as she explores Crewdson’s meticulous artistic processes and their mesmerizing impact as well as Shapiro’s filmmaking merits.   

 Ten years in the making, Brief Encounters captures Park Slope native Gregory Crewdson in the process of composing images for his series and book Beneath the Roses, which profiles a slice of the American underclass.  I have not yet seen the film, nor have I met Crewdson, but his meticulously staged work is said to be influenced by a childhood obsession with his father’s psychoanalytic practice, a fascination with Diane Arbus, and David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet.”   Crewdson is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York, teaches photography as an adjunct at Yale and is widely collected.   

Crewdson’s hauntingly beautiful photographs add a new dimension to the ‘Created Reality,’ ‘Staged Photographs,’ or whatever term we’d like to use.  He approaches his photographs more like a surreal painter and then creates realities as photographs that are seemingly ‘trapped’ in a documentary setting.  His has penultimate control of every detail and produces exquisite results, especially with lighting.  Crewdson has hired lighting designers, who used to work in the motion picture industry. The suburban or small town locations are distinctly American; they hint of secrets, engage us to look for clues in a drama about to happen, make us speculate about what did possibly happen.  Renata Breth

Details:  “Brief Encounters” screens Friday (January 18, 2013) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (January 20, 2013) at 4 p.m., at Sonoma Film Institute at Warren Auditorium on the Sonoma State University campus.  Renata Breth introduces the film on Friday only.  Directions to Warren Auditorium: At the Main Entrance to the University, turn left off of E. Cotati Avenue onto Sequoia Drive. Take the first right at the Information Booth onto Redwood Drive. Turn left into parking lot E.  Warren Auditorium is inside Ives Hall, the building on the North side of the parking lot.  New Fees SSU Parking: Parking in all general parking lots, including Lot E, which is closest to Warren Auditorium is now $5, 24 hours, all 7 days of the week.  Film Admission: $5-7, free to SSU students with I.D. Information:  http://www.sonoma.edu/sfi/index.html  or phone: 707.664.2606

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January 16, 2013 - Posted by | Art, Film | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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