Hiroshi Sugimoto: Theaters & Seascapes

Again an Art icon of mine, again a photographer – but this time a contemporary one: Hiroshi Sugimoto, born 1948 in Japan and living today in New York. He came to the USA to study Fine Arts at the Art Center College of Art and Design in Los Angeles in the 1970s, where he was strongly influenced by the ideas of conceptual art as well as of minimalism. – Two ideas, you can find in his work until today, resulting in his consistent exploration of several themes with rigorous seriality. It would go beyond the scope of one post to give you a complete insight into Sugimoto’s work. That’s why I wanted to present you today his two series I adore the most: Theaters and Seascapes.


Canton Palace, Ohio, 1980

Union City Drive-in, Union City, 1993

Hollywood Cinerama, Los Angeles, 2003

In his Theaters series (begun in 1978), he presets old and modern movie houses as well as  classic American drive-ins. What is so special about these incredible b/w photos is the white screen that appears in every picture of this series; the result of shooting the projection of a whole film. Sugimoto calls this “time exposed”, which I think is quite a good explanation for his intention to catch a whole film (= a time span between 1,5 – 3 hrs) in one single photo. In the end the complete time period of the movie reappears as one bright rectangle. Stunning.


North Atlantic Ocean, Cape Breton Island, 1996

Mediterranean, La Ciotat 2 (D), 1989

Boden Sea, Uttwil, 1993

His Seascapes series (begun in 1980) are photographs of the sea.  Each of this pictures is composed equally: The water and the sky bisected by the horizon and still every single photo looks different because of the temporary atmospherics like fog, rain, or storm. Thus, also this series is a big statement about the role of specific time points and, moreover, it shows the beauty of mother nature at its best.

The web is really not a good source to get an impression of Sugimoto’s work – I was lucky enough to see his exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie in 2008 and I strongly recommend every one of you to see his work live, if you ever get the opportunity!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links.

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