Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948)
Born in Tokyo in 1948, Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of the most sought after artists in contemporary photography and is known for his ethereal and pointed black and white silver gelatin prints. His highly technical photographs investigate the medium not only as a document of history, but also as a visual representation of the dialogue between memory and permanence.
Sugimoto graduated in 1970 from Saint Paul's University in Tokyo with a degree in politics and sociology. Soon thereafter, he changed the course of his career and enrolled at Art Centre College of Design, Los Angeles where he received his BFA in 1974. Upon graduation, he moved to New York where he is based today.
His influences range from William Henry Fox Talbot, the 19th century pioneer of modern day photography, to Marcel Duchamp and Dada. His interest in Talbot and Duchamp reflects his dedication to the science and history behind photography as a medium while staying firmly rooted within the art historical canon.
His work is divided into series, which investigate different subjects and themes. Some of his more popular series are Theaters (1978 - ), Seascapes (1980 - ) and Architecture (1997 - ). Each of the series are named appropriately after their subject matter, but the manner in which the artist chooses to photograph the subjects elicit his recognizable style. In the Architecture series for instance, Sugimoto in his own words:
"decided to trace the beginnings of our age via architecture. Pushing my old large format camera's focal length out to twice-infinity - with no stops on the bellows rail, the view through the lens was an utter blur - I discovered that superlative architecture survived, however dissolved, the onslaught of blurred photography"
Each of his series investigates the pervasive themes of time, memory, permanence, presence and absence in relation to the subject matter.
Most recently, Sugimoto's work has been featured as the cover for U2's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon, and in 2008 a retrospective of his work travelled from the Museum der Moderne in Salzberg, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin and the Kunstmuseum in Luzern. He continues to work on his various series from his studio in New York and in 2008 produced his most recent series Lightning Fields.