Without a doubt, Gregory Crewdson is my favorite living American photographer. I first encountered his book "Twilight" when I had just moved from a small college town in Pennsylvania to Park Slope, Brooklyn (coincidentally, where he grew up). In his images I recognized a feeling I had been unable to articulate - the beautiful strangeness small town / suburban life took on once one had acclimated to the frenetic pace of city life.
As an interior designer I appreciated the elaborate sets that he created for these photos. Approaching the picture plane as one would a canvas, each image has layers of detail and meaning which, although not clear to me after all these years, still justify consideration. In college I used to argue against the artistry of photography compared with painting, thinking that documenting what was existing was easier than creating a whole scene. Crewdson not only proves me (joyfully) incorrect, but somehow is able to extend his 'distance' from the subjects to us viewers.
In addition to the fantastic scenery, Crewdson also seems to capture the exact break in the consciousness of his characters where they ask themselves "What does this all mean? How did I get here?"