With Close Up: Photographers at Work, Rebecca Dreyfus succeeded in creating an engaging documentary filled with delightful insights into a number of established photographers whose openness helps even the novice understand what motivates their photographic drive. On a personal level this openness expands mindsets to photography’s essence as Albert Maysles noted “it gives us a basis to find a common ground with people and events who otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to connect with”.
Not only is the importance of Maysles’ statement embodied through the work shown in Close Up, the process which leads up to each photograph establishes the formation for the common ground towards subject and spectator. Maysles roaming through the streets of Harlem gracing his charm observing ordinary people, Andrew Moore’s vivid colourful city – scapes enthusiastically capturing the perfect moment and Sylvia Plachy wanting to reveal the depths within her human subjects. It all comes back to show photography’s reliability, the common ground Maysles defined as they aim to place themselves as a mediator between us as spectators and the subjects, letting us understand each photographs’ significance.
By Close Up going in depth with a variety of photographers, it allowed spectators the opportunity to expand and question the capabilities of what the profession entails, in particular Gregory Crewdson and Tim – Greenfield Sanders. Opposite from the direct simplicity in technique seen from Maysles and Plachy, Crewdson went to great lengths in constructing his photographs in a sophisticated style offering intrigue towards the mysterious and Sanders’ repetitive use of still portrait in photographing subjects in a controlled, dignified state to reveal their sense of character. Despite the large contrast in each photographers’ style, they all share a common interest in exposing an underlying sensation regarding individual forms of beauty that they strive for perfectly conveying Close Up’s alluring essence as an insightful documentary out to prove photography’s relevance.