They're printed so modestly that several will fit on one wall.
If there is any consistency with past work, it's in the precision of pre-visualization. These aren't casual snapshots. The degree of orderliness is roughly on par with his earlier cinematic murals.
Still, if you saw these on the wall with no captions you'd never guess Crewdson. At least not until now.
I've been racking my brain trying to think of another photographer who made such a radical shift over such a short course of time. Shore? His switch from snapshots and postcards to view camera was fairly dramatic. Meyerowitz? Within a few years he transitioned from b/w street to color street to large format static vistas. Still it took him a decade, which isn't very fast. Friedlander's switch to Hasselblad in the 80s was profound. Evans and Callahan come to mind, but they both experimented so much that it's hard to identify them with any one baseline style.
And then there are the countless photographers who've transitioned over time, generally from smaller to larger formats and from b/w to color. Annie Leibovitz is a good example. Her early b/w photojournalism is a million miles from what she's doing now. Or is it?
But to some extent all of these shooters have kept their photographic identity intact. They've repackaged themselves but it's still recognizably them. They're like Dylan at Newport, altered but easily identified.
Crewdson's departure seems more radical. Not only did he transform the size, palette, and methodology of his photos overnight, he abandoned his very way of seeing. Instead of hiring a forty person crew to build pre-conceived sets, these are found scenes, and quiet ones too.
So what's a good comparison? It's probably hyperbole to compare it to Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, but I think it does belong on that spectrum of unrecognizability. Maybe a more appropriate comparison is The Beatles between roughly 1965 and 1967. Were they still recognizably The Beatles after embracing psychedelia? Yes, in retrospect. But if you took The White Album back in time and played it to a someone in 1964, that person wouldn't have a clue who made it.
Do any other photographers come to mind? Which ones have become unrecognizable overnight?