Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Twilight Series) 2001–02. Digital C-print, 48 x 60" (122 x 152 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.
Help students investigate the idea of storytelling as a
way of preserving the past. View scenes depicted in the
Bayeux Tapestry and encourage speculation as to when
the story took place. Ask, “What can we learn about life
during this time?” Suggest, also, that students try to distinguish a storyline in the embroidery.
Have students discuss the idea of storytelling. Ask,
“Where do we encounter stories?” “Who tells stories?”
“What are some examples of stories told with pictures?”
Hint at such things as photographs, film, television,
books, and artworks. Have students bring in candid family photos from home for a “photo swap.” Be sure to have
extra photos on hand. Students
can work in pairs to imagine the
story suggested by each partner’s
photograph, addressing questions
such as, “What do you think
is happening in this picture?”
“Where and when do you think
it is taking place?” Students can
also discuss what they think may have happened prior to
the picture being taken and what they think will happen
next. Follow this activity with a discussion about how
photographs help to document events and suggest stories.
ting, noting the two
rooms, the closet and the
objects found in these
places. Ask students to
identify those things in
the image that are famil-
iar and those things that
are strange. Discuss what
Crewdson and his crew
did to create “an unex-
pected sense of mystery
the artist want us to believe about this character?”
Finally, have students imagine that this photograph is
featured on a poster advertising an upcoming movie.
Ask, “Would you be interested in seeing the movie?”
“What do you think the plot line would be and what
about the image supports your idea?”
Have students carefully consider Hurricane House by
Beverly Buchanan and Under the Rainbow by Fujiko
Isomura. Ask, “How are these artworks connected to sto-
rytelling?” Help students see that Buchanan’s dwellings
give rise to the question, “Who might live here and what
might they do?” Beverly Buchanan often imagines the
characters who reside in her
buildings and she sometimes
includes their stories in writ-
ten form. Fujiko Isomura’s art-
works almost always suggest
a story because they include
characters within a setting.
The additional twist to the
Isomura stories is the inclusion of characters and set-
tings from both Japanese and American cultures. Have
students identify details that are drawn from American
culture and those that reference Japanese culture.
Have students compare the working methods of each
artist. In addition, suggest that they discuss the distinctive ways the artists use color and texture to convey
mood, setting, and idea. Encourage students to select one
of the two artists to investigate further. Have students
determine the extent to which other artworks by the artist are similar to or different from the featured artwork.
“That collision between familiar
and the strange; I think that exists
in all my pictures. An unexpected
sense of mystery or strangeness.”
Have students look carefully at Gregory Crewdson’s
Untitled (Twilight Series). Ask, “What is happening in
this image?” Help them describe the action, and make
sure that they note the tools and sawdust near the hole.
Have students carefully describe the details in the set-