Two Rooms, Two Truths
“How are you?”, is a widely used greeting. It is usually one of the the first phrases one learns in any language, such as “Como estás?” in Spanish and “Comment allez-vous?” in French. The individual automatically replies with “Fine”, “Bien”, or “Bien”. This question does not require a truthful reply. At times, it is easier to hide the truth and reply that one is fine, rather than to explain or go into detail as to why one feels a certain way. Gregory Crewdson’s “Untitled” from his Beneath the Roses photography collection introduces this façade of masking personal pain and the eventual unmasking of one’s true feelings. “Untitled” displays a dimly lit bedroom in a typical home. The light from the blue moon shines into the bedroom, complementing the subtle, dark coloring of purple and blue tones. A woman in a white nightgown sits on the edge of an unmade bed with its crumpled blankets and wrinkled sheets and pillows askew. An uprooted rosebush, bare without its flowers or leaves, lies beside her on the bed. She looks down with an air of longing and remorse towards her hands, which hold a pile of rose petals. On the indigo-colored carpet, near her dirt covered legs and feet, there is a trail of petals, leaves, and stems, leading into the bright living room. The double French doors of the living room are wide open, inviting the audience into this organized room. This room is tidy, except for a trail of remnants from the rosebush on the floor. The living room has a different glow, apparent with the use of more inviting yellow and green tones; nothing has been uprooted here. At a quick glance, Crewdson’s use of small details and contrasting rooms help bolster the theme of masking personal issues from public observation. The woman in “Untitled” has been experiencing personal pain. Her facial features display feelings of remorse, depression, and emptiness. She is the only human figure in the photograph, drawing the viewer to focus...
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