Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in 1948 in Tokyo. He took his earliest photographs in high school, photographing film footage of Audrey Hepburn as it played in a movie theater. After receiving a BA from Saint Paul’s University in Tokyo in 1970, he traveled west, first encountering communist countries such as the Soviet Union and Poland, and later Western Europe. In 1971, he visited Los Angeles and decided to stay, receiving a BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1972. In 1974, he moved to New York. In 1976 he visited the city’s American Museum of Natural History for the first time and he was intrigued by the lifelike qualities of the dioramas of animals and people. These provided the subject matter for the first of his Dioramas series, which, along with the Seascapes and Theaters series (deadpan, near-abstract photographs of such sites), were conceived between 1976 and 1977 and have continued through the present. He has since developed other ongoing series, including photographs of waxwork-museum figures, drive-in theaters, and Buddhist sculptures, all of which similarly blur distinctions between the real and the fictive.

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