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Beneath the Roses Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In these 49 elaborately staged photographs, Crewdson (Twilight) reveals his vision of America in lush and brooding images of dusk, each one bristling with atmosphere: a young boy stares at a naked woman standing in the open door of her trailer; a woman, observed through a motel window, looks at a baby sleeping on the bed; a man stands in a deserted intersection in the rain, his car door open behind him. Although Crewdson's work is frequently interpreted cinematically, and stylistic comparisons are drawn between him and David Lynch and Wes Anderson, in the book's preface, writer Banks argues that analogies to the movies do the photographer a disservice. According to Banks, looking at Crewdson's photographs resembles reading fiction more than anything else; it is not a passive experience (such as watching a movie) but an invitation to actively imagine alongside the artist. Crewdson's sets do boast the budgets and crew normally associated with movies, however, and this collection includes 23 extra pages of set drawings, location shots and images of the actors and props used to create the photographs—perfectly in keeping with a body of work that, as Banks states, tests the limits of realism while making no effort to disguise its artificiality. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Russell Banks is an award-winning writer whose works of fiction include Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, and The Darling. He has contributed essays to Vanity Fair, Harper’s, and many other publications. He lives in upstate New York.
Top customer reviews
In his other books, people have complained that the images were not large enough. This book has larger images. The book contains 49 plates, which measure about 14.5" x 9.5"
The book also has photographs and sketches of a lot of the work that went into the final photographs, such as set design, lighting, props, and more.
Some of the photos in this book are also in the book "1985-2005", but they are larger in this book.
The book still doesn't come close to capturing how breathtaking his full-size 4' x 5' photographs are, but it does a better job than any of his other books. It would make a great addition to any photography book collection.
More interesting is the theme of isolation that runs through these photos. Even in the shots where more than one person is present, each seems trapped inside their own space. Raised to an even higher degree in some of the wide exteriors, you end up searching out the individual who is nearly swallowed up by the rest of the picture. Perhaps it is that very searching quality required by some of the photographs that makes them the most moving of the group.
When I first received this book, I wasn't sure if I would like it. I was first put off by the unwieldiness of its size--bigger than a normal volume and wider than it is high. As I looked through the photographs and grew to like many of them, I realized the importance of the book's size and shape--to take advantage of the movie aspect ratio Crewdson uses as well as the need for as much space as possible in his wide, detailed exterior shots.
In fact, I went to see a gallery presentation of some of the photographs in this volume. The prints hanging on the wall were large, perhaps six feet or more wide, which I thought did much better justice to Crewdson's work. I found this experience to be of great benefit. When I came home and looked through the book again, I was moved to look even more closely at some of the pictures, seeking out that isolation and detail.
Still, as I said, I think Crewdson's work is uneven. The exteriors, for the most part, greatly outdo the interiors and there is a tendency towards a garishness I don't like in some of his work. However, when he hits the right notes, his landscapes are as beautiful and interesting as anything I've seen.