NARRATOR: The photographer Gregory Crewdson is known for his surreal vignettes of small town American life. He elaborately stages his photographs on a Hollywood-scale, using a cast, crew, and cinematic lighting, the way a director would shoot a film. This approach allows the artist to control and exaggerate certain visual elements for maximum dramatic effect. Crewdson discusses this photograph, in which a bus driver beckons to a young girl.

GREGORY CREWDSON: The picture, at the core if it, is about light and attempt to tell the story through light.

I like the idea of using common and familiar iconography. These small houses, the school bus, everything in the picture feels, in one way or another, familiar. The people that appear in the houses actually live in the houses. And the man who is the school bus driver is the local school bus driver for that district. So it was very important for me, in a way to combine reality with fiction.

But through the transformation of light and color there’s an unsettling quality in the picture. I like that tension between the iconography of ordinary life and, perhaps, something more sinister.

The narrative possibility of a photograph is very limited in comparison to other narrative forms, like film or literature. A photograph, of course, is always frozen and mute in time. But I’m interested in that limitation and condensing a moment and suggesting a question.


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