One of Emily Dickinson’s best-known poems begins, “There’s a certain Slant of light, / Winter Afternoons – / That oppresses, like the Heft / Of Cathedral Tunes–.” The winter light Dickinson saw in Amherst, Massachusetts, is the same light that drifts through many photographs in Gregory Crewdson’s new series “Cathedral of the Pines,” 2013–14. Crewdson and Dickinson share not only the landscape of western Massachusetts, but also a sensitivity to the weight of light and what it reveals about the melancholic spaces of human interiority.
The images comprising the new series are clearly connected to Crewdson’s previous work, such as “Beneath the Roses,” 2003–2008, and “Twilight,” 1998–2002. “Cathedral of the Pines” again presents scenes that are at once oneiric and unsettling, depicting solitary persons caught in states of mortification: individuals often alone, often naked, always an
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