Photography: If You Build It They Will Come

Staged photographs produce some class acts

GREGORY CREWDSONTWILIGHT, ABRAMS 2002

An untitled staged photograph from the book Twilight. By Gregory Crewdson, the photo depicts a woman inside a house sitting in a garden of flowers.

It's now roughly 30 years since the artist Cindy Sherman first put on makeup and a wig, arranged herself into some B-movie poses in B-movie settings and pointed her face toward her own camera to ask the questions: So what's real here? Is this a picture of me? Or a picture of the role I've taken on? And when we're talking about pictures, what exactly do we mean by real?

As it turned out, a lot of artists had begun to ask the same questions around that time. Three decades later, pictures constructed for the camera--staged photographs--have become a standard art-world...

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