Photography, perfected

Along with all of this Buddhism and philosophy, I also have an enormous love of photography, nature, and running. I have a very busy couple of weeks ahead, so I am not sure if I will have time to write much in the Buddhism/philosophy categories too soon.

However, I did stumble across Gregory Crewdson’s work today and felt it very much worth sharing. His photos, for me, approach perfection. They are more than beautiful, more than scenic or technically masterful. They convey a multiplicity of emotions and dimensions which unveil themselves to the viewer over time. Just as in meditation when, at first, thoughts and feelings can rush over you quickly, but soon settle into a deeper, richer texture giving rise to calm, joy, and even rapture, Crewdson’s images will reward the meditative viewer with glimpses into the human condition.

Crewsdon says his pictures must first be beautiful, but that beauty is not enough. He strives to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear (NPR).


Brief Encounters documents Gregory Crewdson’s 10-year quest to create a series of haunting, surreal, and stunningly elaborating portraits of small-town American life. The photographs of Crewdson are shot using a large crew, and are elaborately staged and lit. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts.

Filmed over a decade, beginning in 2000, Gregory Crewdson says, “Brief Encounters provides an unparalleled view of the moment of creation of my images. It also reveals the life-story behind the work.” Through frank reflections on his life and career, including the formative influences of his psychologist father and his childhood fascination with the work of Diane Arbus. Childhood fears and ideals, adult anxieties and desires, the influences of pop-culture all combine to form who we are, and for Crewdson, motivate his work. (via GregoryCrewdsonmovie.com)

Along with Crewdson, I’d like to introduce another amazing photographer and friend of mine, Clarke Scott. Clarke is an Australian born Tibetan Buddhist monk who I first met via the blogosphere a few years back. We finally met in person when, by chance, we both happened to be in Dharamsala (a good meeting place for an American and an Australian Buddhist) in November, 2010. His short videos capture the same meditative depths as Crewdson’s images:

As he writes of this impromptu piece: “As I took the train to the meeting I was listening to Hammock on my iPhone, shooting stuff as I went. There was no time to stop and think about each shot. Just point and shoot.”

And here is one he shot in Dharamsala (Mcleod Ganj):

  • http://atomicgeography.com/ bob

    Very interesting, altho, and recognizing it’s part of the point, the Crewdson stuff makes me anxious. He kinda Photoshops the world and documents the results.


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