Aegean Sea, Pilíon I, 1990

Hiroshi Sugimoto is not a romantic, but an explorer and seeker. This photo is thus to be understood not as a romantic seascape, but as part of a series with which Sugimoto explored the archaic aspects of the sea. For this reason, we see no cargo ship, no boat, no wind turbine, no buoy, no airplane – no traces of mankind, just the sea, the air and the light. As a matter of fact, Sugimoto’s photos are usually the result of intense observation lasting up to several days.

In his work, the basic principle of photography seems to have turned into its opposite. Instead of isolating a fraction of a second from the eternity of time, he endeavours to make time’s unlimited expansion conceivable, to record permanence and timelessness. To this end, he employs a large format camera, usually with a very small aperture and accordingly long exposure times – and photographs only in black-and-white. In their magnificent simplicity and rigour, his works are as unspectacular as they are fascinating. Above all, however, they educate the viewer in inward and outward observation.

© Hiroshi Sugimoto

Silvergelatine print on Baryta-paper
46 × 58 cm
Inv. No. DZF 15
DZ Bank Kunstsammlung in the Städel Museum

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