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Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lightning Fields

Over a long career, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto seems to have specialized in capturing light in some of its duller moments: bouncing off waxworks, stuffed animals, architectural models, or–as with the image that adorns rock band U2’s latest studio album–repeatedly off the same seascape, again and again, in extremely long exposures that erase all detail.

With his latest show at Ginza’s Gallery Koyanagi, however, the 58-year old lensman seems to have finally done something exciting–if somewhat perverse–by taking photographs without a lens! For the score or so limited edition silver gelatin prints at Lightning Fields, Sugimoto literally worked in the dark, exposing sheets of film to blasts of electricity that were conducted and refracted through basins of salty water. While the resulting images hardly provide rainbow-colored bursts of sunshine or kaleidoscopic fireworks, the dark, oddly organic forms manage to bewitch and fascinate.

C.B.Liddell
Metropolis
2nd October, 2009
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