Gregory Crewdson


This image is from a recent group of photographs made on a soundstage at MASS MoCA. It was a large-scale production. We had a crew of sixty people working on the project, including my director of photography, Rick Sands, and the production designer Anne Ross (Lost in Translation). For this particular image we worked very closely with production designer and greens coordinator Buzz Gray, who designed the swamp. The corpse itself is a highly detailed cast of a middle-aged woman made by MASTERSFX, a special-effects company based in Los Angeles. They originally made the corpse for Six Feet Under. Buzz and his team worked on the swamp for two full weeks. He approached the project from a spiritual perspective. In the final photograph, the woman is submerged in water, and there is a cluster of moths circling around her, memorializing her dead body. John Nugent, an extraordinary digital compositor, is now in the process of doing the post-production work on the image. He just spent four years in New Zealand working on The Lord of the Rings. It was a great privilege to work with such an accomplished group. We also made ten other photographs over the course of three weeks. Everyone got the feeling that this picture was really powerful. It was important to get the right sense of the woods; it had to have the right combination of realism and enchantment—very romantic. The woman frightened us when she first arrived in a wooden box, but we all fell in love with her by the end of it.