First Encounters: Sugimoto

Bethina Liu
Mar 19, 2013 4:15AM

The first time I saw Hiroshi Sugimoto's seascape prints in person, just over a year ago at Harvard Art Museum's Recent Acquisitions exhibition of contemporary photographs, I was mesmerized. 

Ocean and sky, abstracted into Sugimoto's paradigm of binaries, either confront each other in contrastive opposition or meld into one indistinguishable whole. The simplicity of symmetry, distilled into monochromatic halves, forms the basis for variation, repetition and serial expansion. 

And yet, there is an unmistakable distinctness about each photographic image, a sense of groundedness in the particular time and place in which it was captured, even as it defies—indeed, transcends—spatiotemporal specificity. Standing before them, I gazed into the endlessness of Sugimoto's seascape, suspended in its vastness and tranquil beauty.

Bethina Liu