PRO-PORTRAIT: Grey Crawford approaches architectural photography with a subtext of abstract painting

Grey Crawford blends a love of architecture, abstract painting, and photography to define his work as an artist.

Grey was raised among the images the 50’s and 60’s abstract painters— Willem de Kooning, Karl Benjamin, Franz Kline and Ellsworth Kelly. He brings their sense of color, composition, and light into his architectural photography—shooting exteriors and interiors of the built environment as if they were a abstract painting. While his tool is his camera, he uses it like an artist’s brush.

Grey has had a creative-bent since he was very young, growing up in the college town of Claremont in Southern California. While taking classes in photography, ceramics, painting, graphics, and welding he was able to explore his interests and begin to define his passions. After college he settled on a life in Los Angeles, where he finds visual inspiration in the myriad of architectural styles and the light that’s unique to the Western United States. “The light’s beautiful in the west. That’s always captured me.”

"I just love architecture, and the built environment. I love when the light scrapes across stucco walls on a late August afternoon. Two days ago, I saw that magical light and I snapped a picture with my iPhone. It was like a little iPhone note to remind me of that light.”

But it is his work inside that has given Grey his greatest success. He was discovered first by legendary art director and designer Marilyn Babcock when she was at the seminal L.A. Style Magazine in the 1980’s. “She would jump out there and use young photographers. She loved my work, and my viewpoint on architecture." 

Soon, House & Garden, Elle Décor and Metropolitan Home came calling. “The New York publishing world saw my work in L.A. Style and started taking notice of my interior photography.”

Grey has photographed over a dozen published books, cover to cover, working with the likes of iconic interior designers Kelly Wearstler, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, and Michael S. Smith. They clearly like what they see too.

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