Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo, Japan, in February 1948. He is a Japanese-American photographer who shares his time with Japan and New York. It is reported that he first took an interest in photography when he was in high school, when he would take photographs of Audrey Hepburn as she appeared on screen in movie theatres. Despite this, Sugimoto went on to study politics and sociology at Saint Pauls University in Tokyo in 1970. However in 1974, he retrained as an artist and received his BFA in fine art at the Art Centre Collage in California. Sugimoto has described his own work as ‘time exposed’ or as a time capsule of his on life. Much of his work has been influenced by the work of Marcel Duchamp, and the Dadaist and Surrealist movements in general, he is also said to ave taken an interest in late 20th century architecture. Due to Sugimoto’s use of an 8×10 large format camera and long exposures, he has gained the reputation of the photographer with the highest technical ability. His work has featured in extensive amounts of exhibitions and galleries, for example, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1994, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1995, the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2003 and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas in 2006.

These images are all from Sugimoto’s series, ‘Architecture of Time’. This is a series of his that interests me in particular because of the way that he interprets the different buildings he has photographed. Most photographers, when photographing architecture, want every single detail to be sharp and clear, capturing every last detail of the subject. However Sugimoto has purposely produced images that are clearly out of focus and not sharp. By doing this he has taken away the intimidating feeling that buildings can give us, large industrial pieces of architecture can feel overpowering and intimidating, creating certain emotions within the viewer. But by softening the images in this way, Sugimoto has changed the way we look at these buildings. Following the surrealist movement, these soft, blurred, morbid images abstract the buildings making them timeless and beautiful. I want to use this series of work and the metaphors behind it to influence my own work, I want to use architecture to express emotions, and show the way that different building effect peoples emotions. The way that Sugimoto has abstracted these buildings so that people understand the emotions that they bring to him is something that I want to consider in my own work. I want to find ways to make the audience understand the emotions that different pieces of architecture provoke within me.

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