EVENINGSIDE: THE FAMILY DOCTOR
Location shots, working written description, production stills, and more
EXT. EVENINGSIDE - STREET CORNER - TWILIGHT
We are standing on a sidewalk sloping downward toward a T intersection, gazing across at the buildings perpendicular to us. This area of town is unkempt, overgrown, becoming shabby. A large abandoned hospital looms in the distance. It’s the end of the day, and a rain has just come through. Everything feels still, and quiet.
There are two buildings facing us across the intersection, a doctor’s office to the right, and an electronics supply center to the left. The doctor’s office is in an unlikely perfunctory edifice, four walls and a roof, a door and two large windows. Lettering on a window reads: FAMILY DOCTOR.
The electronics supply building is made of brick, and looks more like a fortress. There are bars on the windows. It doesn’t feel welcoming.
Electrical wires crisscross the sky over the entire scene, almost repeating the pattern of the barred windows, and a chain link fence on one side of the foreground. It feels like a slightly threatening, standoffish part of town.
Through one window of the doctor’s office we can see the DOCTOR seeing his last patient of the day, a BOY. The doctor, dressed in a traditional white uniform, is examining him. The boy is in ¾ view. He’s got his shirt off, and is seated on the edge of an exam table. He looks down at the floor in front of him. The other window on the building is closed with curtains. The front door is slightly ajar.
Outside, in the driveway between the two buildings, a NURSE leans against her parked car. She is faced slightly away, looking out toward the neighborhood, gazing off into some other distant dream.
Written by Juliane Hiam, the picture “descriptions,” as above, articulate Gregory’s vision, and are distributed to the crew and to the figures who appear on camera ahead of shooting. To meet Gregory’s wishes, the descriptions provide no motivation, no before, and no after; only strictly what will be represented visually within the frame. The written form instructs the production team how the actual locations will be infused with narrative in order to create an atmosphere; a mood; a fictive world that draws the viewer in.
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Gregory’s first concept for this picture, as is evident here, was to have the camera further back. He was initially interested in the church on the right but later he felt the story should be centered on the small building across the intersection.
The building used for the “doctor’s office” was closed and was mostly empty inside. It had been a taxi dispatch at some point in its history. Walls had to be built and dressed to create the fictional interior spaces for the picture. Signs were also placed outside.
Many of the signs and billboards in the Eveningside series were designed by Perry Grebin, and then painted by scenic artist Mark Bachman, and that was true in this picture. The “R. Malvin” is a reference to a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story called “Roger Malvin’s Burial.”
In the picture description, the “doctor” is standing in the room with the boy, faced away. Once we got on set, Gregory decided the picture worked better formally with only one figure on each side of the frame, so the doctor did not appear in the final picture.
Above is a view, from set, of the camera tent early in the day. In order to eliminate reflections in the windows, black fabric called duvetyne was hung vertically and also draped flat across the entire street (as seen below.) This was done in all the pictures in Eveningside where the camera is facing storefront windows.
Unrelated to the production, there was an actual medical emergency nearby while we were shooting, and we paused briefly so an ambulance could speed through. (above)
Adrienne Davis from the art department creates fog on set (above.)
Fun facts: The woman portraying the “nurse” in this picture (above) also previously appeared in the picture Alone Street (2018-2019) from the series An Eclipse of Moths. The same green Cadillac Fleetwood also appears in both pictures. The boy in The Family Doctor is Juliane’s son Davy. (below). He appeared in a picture from An Eclipse of Moths previously as well.
Family Doctor is from Gregory’s series Eveningside, now on view at Reflex Gallery in Amsterdam, and at Alan Koppel Gallery in Chicago. It premiered at Gallerie d’Italia Torino in 2022 as part of a survey, curated by Jean-Charles Vergne, also called Eveningside, which included the past 10 years of Gregory’s work. Eveningside, and the survey, will open July 3 at Les Rencontres d’Arles.
A book, Eveningside, published by Skira Editore | Gallerie d’Italia is now available in English, French, and Italian editions.
The video clip at the top of the piece is from “Making Eveningside,” by Harper Glantz. In its entirety, “Making Eveningside” is 20 minutes in length, and is set to original music by James Murphy and Stuart Bogie. The dual-screen presentation was conceived as a large format museum installation.