The Making of Twilight
A time of infinite possibility
PEOPLE OFTEN TALK about how well orchestrated and finely-tuned my productions are. ‘Obsession with detail.’ ‘Months of planning.’ Picture descriptions written, and rewritten, sketches made, storyboards drawn, lighting charted, permits and permissions all secured. This is all true. But that is now.
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Twilight was the first time I attempted to make photographs with cinematic lighting and a production team. It was 25 years ago. 1998. As opposed to the way we work now on our productions, everything was improvised and very little was planned. We were making it up as we went along, working on a shoestring budget.
I look back on that time and realize just how amazing it was that we accomplished what we did. I assembled a production team of sorts, some whom were experienced in film, but many others who didn’t have any such experience or background at all, but were simply willing to help. I rented cinematic lights from a local theatrical supply, we built sets, and I attempted to create the pictures I had in my head. Everything was makeshift. We were putting lights up in landscaping lifts, often tying into residential electricity, cobbling things together. It was an adventure. There was a freedom in not knowing what I was doing. I was trying to invent a new way of making pictures, and I found the sense of infinite possibility slightly intoxicating.
Twilight marked a turning point for me. These pictures wound up influencing every picture I made after. Reaching the 25th anniversary has been a time of reflection, particularly looking through old snapshots and ephemera in support of the Avant Arte collaboration.
I wanted to choose images for this print collaboration that each felt defining to me. The first time I used a prop car and created a street scene, for example. Each of these three pictures feature themes and motifs and iconography that I still use as central elements in my pictures.
Editor’s note: The text accompanying this post was written by Juliane Hiam, Gregory’s partner and creative producer, based on conversations and input from Gregory.