PRINT April 1984


HIROSHI SUGIMOTO USES A CAMERA to investigate the properties inherent to photography. He is concerned with boundaries, tonal gradations, light, time, and space. Eschewing the more familiar possibilities of art-for-art’s-sake and anecdote, Sugimoto’s black and white images are metaphors: they demand interpretation. Whether they are movie theater interiors, dioramas, or vistas of ocean and sky, their stasis conveys a sense of imminence.

Since 1967 Sugimoto has worked on three series, two of which are finished. At most there are 50 photographs fulfilling his stringent requirements. It is a remarkably small oeuvre in any visual medium, but even more so in photography. Sugimoto once remarked to me that when he got the camera out, he was nearly at the end of his project.

Nearly all of the movie theater interiors Sugimoto picked to photograph were built between the late 1920s and early 1930s. During

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