Asian Photography Masters: Hiroshi Sugimoto, Japan

2012-12-28 2

I bet many of you might not even know you have a piece of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work in your room. U2’s “No Line on the Horizon” album artwork is a photograph by Sugimoto, and is part of his Seascapes series. After the jump, let’s properly get acquainted with this conceptual artist.

Self Portrait | Image via Biennale of Sydney

Hiroshi Sugimoto (杉本博司) is a Japanese photographer from Tokyo who lives and works both in his home city and in New York City, where he settled after college in the 70s. He’s also an Architect, having built a Shinto shrine for an Art Center.

Seascapes | Images via c4gallery

Sugimoto favors his 8×10 large-format camera and long-exposure photography. When we think of the latter, we might expect to find light trails and blurred bodies from the rapid movement we’re used to in the city. Sugimoto’s long-exposure shots, as seen below, instead pronounce features rather than blur them out. The lines of the ebbing tide are sharp owing to Sugimoto’s patience and the conceptualisation that goes into each of his works inorder to convey his vision.

As can be felt in Sugimoto’s works, the artist draws his inspiration from life, death, and the flow of time. This is what he attempts to address in each of his works. He also cites Dadaism and Surrealism to be other key sources of inspiration.

Theatres | Images via c4gallery

The above images of old American movie houses are from Sugimoto’s series “Theatres” which he started in the late 70s. The black and whites are shot with a folding 4×5 camera and are time-exposures. The length of time Sugimoto holds down his shutter button for may surprise you… the entire duration of the movie! Inspired? Perhaps you can attempt this with other enjoyable leisure activities you want to capture the “moment” of such as listening to music, for wich you can expose your photos for the duration of a song.

Fidel Castro | Image via strozzina

The above three-quarter view photo is of Castro… ‘s wax figure! He spends time at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum’s all over the world and attempts to photograph the figures as if they were alive, and through the eyes of the original artist through the addition or omission of light as it were back then.

“I try to never be satisfied; this way I will always be challenging my spirit.”

Information for this article is taken from Wikipedia.

written by soundfoodaround on 2012-12-28 #tokyo #lifestyle #black-and-white #photographer #architecture #japan #conceptual #surrealist #editorial-series #asian-photography-masters #expressionist # #dadaist


  1. laughing_giraffe
    laughing_giraffe ·

    Ah! Another U2 - Japan connection! Thanks for writing this article -- I didn't know about this!

  2. susielomovitz
    susielomovitz ·


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