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  Hiroshi Sugimoto Biography

Hiroshi Sugimoto Biography

born Tokyo (JAPAN) 1948

Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948) is a Japanese photographer, currently working in the US. His work arranged in few series, each having very distinct formalistic attributes.

Current achievements are the 2001 Hasselblad Foundation International Award (Hasselblad Honour) and 2002 exhibition "The architecture of Time", but he is mainly known for two of his rigorous conceptual series, Seascapes and Theatre series.

Using a 8x10" camera and applying extremely long exposures (in his Theatres series) are the least attributes for which Sugimoto is considered a photographer of the highest technical skills. Nevertheless, his work is acclaimed for a no lesser degree for the conceptual and philosophical aspects.

Begun in 1978, Sugimoto's Theatres series involved photographing old American movie palaces and drive-ins, exposing the plates for the entire film's duration, the film projector being the sole lightning. The luminescent screen in the centre of the composition, the architectural details and the seats of the theatre were the only subjects in the photographs, and the unique lightning giving the works a surreal look, as a part of Sugimoto's attempt to reveal time in photography.

Select Timeline

Select Exhibitions

  • 1994 - Angles Gallery, Santa Monica, California.
  • 1994 - Sonnabend Gallery, New York.
  • 1994 - Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
  • 1994 - The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
  • 1994 - The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York.
  • 1994 - Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
  • 1995 - Seeing Things, Fraenkel Gallery, fifteenth anniversary exhibition San Francisco
  • 1995 - Sonnabend Gallery, New York.
  • 1995 - Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
  • 1995 - Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 1995 - Angles Gallery, Santa Monica, California.
  • 1995 - Centre International d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal.
  • 1995 - Museum Het Kruithuis, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.
  • 1995 - Art Gallery of York University, Toronto.
  • 1995 - Gallerie SPSAS, Locarno, Italy.
  • 1995 - Espace Renn, Paris.
  • 1995 - Metropolitan Museum of Art NY
  • 1996 - Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
  • 1996 - Galerie Meyer-Ellinger, Frankfurt, Germany.
  • 1996 - Galleri Faurshou, Copenhagen.
  • 1996 - Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.
  • 1996 - Moderna Museet, Sparvagnshallarna, Stockholm.
  • 1996 - Junta de Andalucia, Granada, Spain.
  • 1996 - Galerie Tres, Barcelona.-solo
  • 1996 - Canadian Embassy Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 1996 - Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo.
  • 1996 - Theoretical Event, Naples.
  • 1997 - Berkeley Art Museum Berkeley
  • 1998 - In Over Our Heads: The Image of Water in Contemporary Art, San Jose Museum of Art San Jose
  • 1998 - Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco
  • 1998 - Akron Art Museum Akron, Ohio
  • 1999 - Sea Change: The Seascape in Contemporary Photography, International Center of Photography NY
  • 1999 - The Museum as Muse, The Museum of Modern Art NY

Select Artwork

  • U.A. Walker, New York, 1978, 2000
  • Casa Batllo, Antoni Gaudi, 1998
  • Colors of Shadow C1028, 2006
  • Austrian Post Office


  • "I call it the New Material Research Laboratory, which means just the opposite - that it is about old techniques,"
  • "Fame, it is not enjoyable."
  • "It's pre-photography, a fossilization of time, … Americans have done the Zen garden to death. I wanted to do something different."


  • Hiroshi Sugimoto - by Kerry Brougher, David Elliott, Hatje Cantz Publishers (November 15, 2005)

Quick Facts

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto is a Japanese photographer currently dividing his time between Tokyo and New York City.
  • His catalog is made up of a number of series, each having a distinct theme and similar attributes.
  • His use of an 8x10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures are two techniques which have garnered Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability.
  • Sugimoto began his work with "Dioramas" in 1976, a series in which he photographed displays in natural history museums.
  • Begun in 1978, Sugimoto's Theatres series involved photographing old American movie palaces and drive-ins, exposing the film for the duration of the entire film, the film projector providing the sole lightning.


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 Hiroshi Sugimoto

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