Gregory Crewdson’s Tableaux Started With Dirt, as Per New Documentary

Still from ‘Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters,’ 2012, by Ben Shapiro. (Courtesy Ben Shapiro and Nowness).

We first wrote about Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, the documentary about the artist by filmmaker Ben Shapiro, in March when it premiered at SXSW. Today, more footage of the film has surfaced on Nowness, which shows some scenes from the early life of the photographer and the evolution of the tableaux for which he became known. They arose during a period of crisis during which time, Mr. Crewdson says on film, he returned to the cabin he used to visit as a child in Western Massachusetts and started making dirt piles.

“I’d dig up dirt,” Mr. Crewdson says in the film, “make a little pile, photograph it. When you’re in a kind of crisis point, you try these different things. Eventually those pictures slowly became my first tableaux.”

Though the time of the film’s release in New York is not yet set, check out this clip for a taste of what to expect and to see some of Mr. Crewdson’s early work, which is stunning, and not surprisingly, gruesome. But watch with care. This film may have us all turning to dirt in times of crisis.