Hiroshi Sugimoto
Japan, 1948
Hiroshi Sugimoto studied Sociology and Political Sciences at Saint Paul's University, Tokyo (1966-70), and Fine Arts and Photography at the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design (1972). Since 1974 he has been living in New York. Hiroshi Sugimoto's photographic work, which he began in the United States in 1975, is fed by two traditions. The first is American West Coast documentary photography, whose supreme expression are the landscapes of Ansel Adams, impregnated with a heroic Romanticism which links up with 19th century American landscape painting. The second is Sugimoto's working method, based on the use of typological series and a frontal, repetitive approach to his themes, which is also related to the reductionist principles of Minimalism and American Conceptual Art put forward by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd or Dan Flavin. From the first of those traditions, Sugimoto has inherited a technical discipline based on the use of the large format camera, which enables him to obtain images with a great wealth of details and nuances. That tradition also determines a sensitivity to the emotional impact of the image founded on the Romantic principle of the sublime. From the second tradition comes his serial methodology, as well as a discourse critical of photographic realism, which implicitly derives from linguistic-conceptual analyses of photographic representation, such as the ones made by Joseph Kosuth in the second half of the sixties, combining photograph and text. From those two traditions comes a paradoxical encounter between the canonical principles of the photographic document and its criticism or negation. The artist refers to that paradox in these words: "People have understood photography as a true document, but they are now becoming more suspicious."
Jorge Ribalta