The Gregory Crewdson Effect: #1 BBC Creative

Alongside Gregory Crewdson’s major exhibition Cathedral of the Pines, on view at The Photographers’ Gallery 23 June – 8 Oct, we take a look at the enduring influence of the artist’s approach to image-making on other individuals and organisations.

Storytelling is at the heart of what the BBC Creative team do, and it is when working on Drama that using the similar visual shorthand techniques exploited by Crewdson is most effective. Dramatic, cinematic tableaus that play on a sense of artifice within a familiar landscape – revelling in creating a moment frozen in time that somehow tells a whole story. The following series of images from various major BBC productions, pay homage to Crewdson’s unique and subtle ability to contain a complex narrative within the space of a single picture.


Doctor Foster, BBC One. Programme Maker:BBC/Drama Republic. Photographer: Phil Fisk. Picture shows: Gemma (SURANNE JONES)

One of Us, BBC One. Programme Maker: BBC. Photographer: Phil Fisk. Picture shows: Claire Elliot (JOANNA VANDERHAM), Moira Douglas (JULIE GRAHAM), Louise Elliot (JULIET STEVENSON), Bill Douglas (JOHN LYNCH), Rob Elliot (JOE DEMPSIE), Jamie Douglas (CRISTIAN ORTEGA), Anna (GEORGINA CAMPBELL), Alastair (GARY LEWIS)  

Sherlock, BBC One. Programme Maker: BBC/Hartswood Films. Photographer: Robert Viglasky. Picture shows: Dr John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN), Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH)

Silent Witness, BBC One. Programme Maker: BBC. Photographer: Steve Neaves. Picture Shows: Jack (DAVID CAVES), Leo (WILLIAM GAMINARA), Nikki (EMILIA FOX)

Thirteen, BBC Three. Programme maker: BBC. Photographer: Todd Anthony. Picture Shows: Christina Moxam (NATASHA LITTLE), Ivy Moxam (JODIE COMER), Emma Moxam (KATHERINE ROSE MORLEY), Craig (JOE LAYTON), Angus Moxam (STUART GRAHAM)

As part of BBC Creative, the BBC’s in-house Creative Agency, the photography team are responsible for commissioning, art directing and producing photography to publicise the BBC’s content across all media. Working across the full range of output – TV, Radio and Online and across all genres the Photography Creative’s one aim is to produce arresting, relevant imagery that encapsulates the essence of the content it represents.


  1. It is not coincidence that two out of the five images are by Phil Fisk… his work is always of consistent high quality and hold the narrative without need of qualifying caption.

  2. BBC have always brought out beautiful pictures for a lot of their drama programmes (I actually did my college thesis on them :) x

  3. There’s quite a distinction between the images the BBC (and other production companies) use to promote TV shows, and the visuals that we see during the shows themselves. The above are all promo pictures – none of these images actually appear during the programmes. It is, of course, much harder to capture the Crewdson aesthetic with the moving image, which is why we don’t see it so often. Of course, that doesn’t mean these stylised stills are not influenced by Crewdson – but we should really be looking at the promo picture assignment he accepted for HBO’s Six Feet Under – apparently the only commercial assignment he’s ever done (is this true?) More details here:

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