120 pages, 90 b/w photos
Hiroshi Sugimoto began to photograph his Dioramas series, a body of work that spans almost four decades, when he moved to New York City from Japan in 1974. While looking at the galleries in the American Museum of Natural History, he noticed that if he looked at the dioramas with one eye closed, the artificial scenes – prehistoric humans, dinosaurs, and taxidermied wild animals set in elaborately painted backgrounds – looked utterly convincing. This visual trick launched his conceptual exploration of the photographic medium, which continues today. Through his career, Sugimoto has addressed the photograph's power to create a history. He has said, "photography functions as a fossilization of time."
In the Dioramas series, Sugimoto persuades the viewer that the photographer has captured a lived moment in time, although each scene is an elaborately crafted fiction. 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 – and then to a renewal of the earth, where flora and fauna flourish without man. Here Sugimoto writes his own history of the world, an artist's creation myth.
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Born in Tokyo in 1948, Hiroshi Sugimoto left Japan in 1970 after graduating from Rikkyo University with a degree in economics. He traveled throughout the Soviet Union and Europe and then moved to Los Angeles, where he studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. His work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo shows, and he was the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2001 and the Mainichi Art Prize in 1988. He currently lives in New York and Tokyo.