Born in Tokyo in 1948, Sugimoto left Japan in 1970 after graduating fromRikkyo University with a degree in economics. He traveled throughoutthe Soviet Union and Europe and then moved to Los Angeles, wherehe studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. His workhas been exhibited internationally in group and solo shows, and hewas the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award inPhotography in 2001 and the Mainichi Art Prize in 1988. He currently livesin New York and Tokyo.
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 "