HIROSHI SUGIMOTO (Japanese b. 1948 Tokyo)
Tasman Sea, Table Cape, 2016, 47 x 58 3/4 in.
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s interest in photography developed during his early teenage years in Tokyo. His father had bought an expensive and complicated camera, but soon tiring of trying to master it, gave it to his son. One of young Sugimoto’s earliest subjects was Audrey Hepburn – a still image from a film, captured inside a movie theatre. In order to capture a single frame, the artist employed a very fast shutter speed of one thirtieth of a second, the beginning of his experiments in manipulating time with his camera.
Sugimoto has been photographing the ocean since 1980, inspired by the awe he felt when first traveling to the coast with his family as a young boy. His Seascapes are always composed so that the horizon line between ocean and sky bifurcates the image into two equal parts, perfectly balanced. He has shot Seascapes all over the world, occasionally staying on location for several weeks until he feels that he has become part of that particular environment. He shoots both in daytime and at night, sometimes allowing his shutter to remain open for hours, and sometimes only for a few seconds. The longer the shot lasts, the more abstracted the movements of sky and water become, blurring and changing, expanding the specific time of the photographer’s presence into a universal experience of the life-giving elements of air and water. For the artist the sea represents the origin of life on earth, and he is moved by the idea that the view of the ocean he sees when he photographs is the same one that ancient humans saw tens of thousands of years ago. Table Cape is both a geological feature (a volcanic plug) and an area on the North West of Tasmania.