Alec DawsonUntitled from Nocturna series (201X)

Any convesration about Dawson’s work will prove a fool’s errand unless one first addresses the elephant in the room: Gregory Crewdson pernicious influence.(Sidebar: whenever someone says elephant in the room, I look around for a split second hoping there’s actually an elephant in the room so maybe I can hug it. I ❤ elephants like whoa.)

Now, I know I mostly come across as a crotchety, you-kids-get-off-my-lawn, over-critical contrarian but I do make a very concerted effort to stay constructive.

However, there are several photographers for whose work I can only muster abject revulsion; Crewdson is one.

I would never dispute his technical acumen–even if questions as to whether his process precludes him from consideration as a photographer are interesting thought experiment.

And his finely tuning, orchestrated lighting masterfully facilitate a consistent, oneiric aesthetic.

My objection is to the manner whereby the elaborate conception/execution and presentation insist upon itself and is excused as being in service of conveying a decisive moment-esque impetus; bullshit given simply asking of the image what led up to this moment and subsequently what leads away from it remains indecipherable.

If Crewdson would shut the fuck up about his work as being narrative–a concept he woefully misunderstands–then I might give his work a pass.

But as goes Gregory Crewdson, so goes a raft of fuckwit MFA students as well as Reverend Bobby Anger and Alec Dawson.

Not to malign the latter two by association but with such a pervasive debt of influence in their work, they both get snared by their similar reliance on aesthetic as means of compensating for flimsy narrative conceptualization.

That being said, I hardly want to piss all over Dawson’s work. He has a profound knack for making a scene appear cluttered without detracting from the composition and though I do worry about the implication of some of Frances Blanc dead and crumpled poses in Nocturna; the series would arguably prove more compelling than Crewdson if Dawson could cull a very much needed, tighter edit.

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