Monday’s Inspiration – Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto  is a Japanese photographer currently dividing his time between Tokyo, Japan and New York City, United States.

sugimoto described his work as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life and the conflict between life and death.

He is deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movement as a whole.

Sugimoto began his work with dioramas in 1976, a series in which he photographed displays in natural museums. Initially the pictures were shot at the American Museum of Natural History, a place he returned for later dioramas in 1982, 1994, and 2012.mWhere many of the earlier silver gelatin prints – including Polar Bear (1976), his first photograph from the Diorama series –, present animals, a number of the 2012 photographs including Mixed Deciduous Forest and Olympic Rain Forest focus on natural landscapes. The cultural assumption that cameras always show us reality tricks many viewers into assuming the animals in the photos are real until they examine the pictures carefully.

It is the seascapes that intrigued and drew me to his work. It was in 1980 that he began working on an ongoing series of photographs of the sea and its horizon, Seascapes, in locations all over the world, using an old-fashioned large-format camera to make exposures of varying duration up to three hours. The locations range from the English Channel and the Cliffs of Moher to the Arctic Ocean, from Positano, Italy, to the Tasman Sea and from the Norwegian Sea at Vesterålen to the Black Sea at Ozuluce in Turkey. The black-and-white pictures are all exactly the same size, bifurcated exactly in half by the horizon line. The systematic nature of Sugimoto’s project recalls the work Sunrise and Sunset at Praiano by Sol LeWitt, in which he photographed sunrises and sunsets over the Tyrrhenian Sea off Praiano, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast.

A few of the images that I am personally drawn to.

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Here is a video by Ted Forbes that goes through his works.

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