Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas

4.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948) began his four-decade-long series Dioramas in 1974, inspired by a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Surrounded by the museum's elaborate, naturalistic dioramas, Sugimoto realized that the scenes jumped to life when looked at with one eye closed. Recreated forestry and stretches of uninhabited land, wild, crouching animals against painted backgrounds and even prehistoric humans seemed entirely convincing with this visual trick, which launched a conceptual exploration of the photographic medium that has traversed his entire career. Focusing his camera on individual dioramas as though they were entirely surrounding scenes, omitting their frames and educational materials and ensuring that no reflections enter the shot, his subjects appear as if photographed in their natural habitats. He also explores the power of photography to create history--in his own words, "photography functions as a fossilization of time." Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas narrates a story of the cycle of life, death and rebirth, from prehistoric aquatic life to the propagation of reptile and animal life to Homo sapiens' destruction of the earth, circling back to its renewal, where flora and fauna flourish without man. Here Sugimoto writes his own history of the world, an artist's creation myth. Hiroshi Sugimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied politics and sociology at Rikkyo University, later retraining as an artist at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, CA. He currently lives in New York and Tokyo.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 118 pages
  • 259.08 x 281.94 x 20.32mm | 1,111.3g
  • Bologna, Italy
  • English
  • 90 black and white photographs
  • 8862083270
  • 9788862083270
  • 389,489

Review quote

Perhaps the darkness struck me more than usual on a recent visit to the museum because I had just been looking at Hiroshi Sugimoto's new book, Dioramas, a collection of his elegant black and white photographs of dioramas, many of which were taken at the Museum of Natural History. Sugimoto uses long exposures, and the feeling I got from his work is just that: of observing something being exposed, something normally hidden, buried, and the uneasy sense that perhaps it was meant to remain hidden, undisturbed. The book with its smaller images is less intense. It's harder to decipher the surprises and ambiguities in the photographs, but they're there. The image on the cover of Dioramas is Sugimoto's photograph of the polar bear looming above a seal that lies, oblong and fat, beside a crack in the pure white ice. The other day, a guest saw the book in my living room and said, "Oh, cute!" then, a quick double take as he noticed the droplets of blood: "Oh... dead."--Cathleen Schine "The New York Review of Books "show more

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