Hiroshi Sugimoto, Norwegian Sea, Vesteralen Island (335), 1990. Courtesy of Vogtle Contemporary.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes

Since 1980, Hiroshi Sugimoto has traveled around the world—from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea—to photograph the tranquil horizon line where the sea meets the sky. The series, which includes over 200 black-and-white photographs, is a testament to Sugimoto’s meditative and rigorous effort to capture the earth’s most basic elements. “Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention—and yet they vouchsafe our very existence,” the artist once wrote. “Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home.” To give the photographs a balanced quality, Sugimoto meticulously composes his seascapes to ensure each image presents sky and water in equal parts. Famous for his long exposure photography, Sugimoto also uses the analog technique to blur turbulent waves and passing clouds, giving his photographs a timeless aura. Sugimoto’s seascapes are among the artist’s most popular series, setting the auction record for the artist when the triptych Black Sea, Ozuluce; Yellow Sea, Cheju; Red Sea, Safaga (1991–1992) sold for nearly $1.9 million at Christie’s in 2007.

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