Hiroshi Sugimoto, Villa Mzzacorrati, Bologna, 2015. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Theaters

Japanese architect and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto began photographing movie theaters in 1976, capturing decaying, decommissioned theaters, drive-ins, and historic venues in Europe and the United States. Fascinated by the concept of photographing an entire movie in a single frame, Sugimoto creates his theater interiors by leaving the aperture of a 4x5 camera open for the entire duration of a film. The result is a shining empty screen in the center of the composition, which Sugimoto has called “the excess of light illuminating the darkness of ignorance.” After decades dedicated to this subject matter, Sugimoto has found that different types of movies emit varying levels of light, with some (such as sad dramas) resulting in darker screens and others (such as comedies) leading to brighter screens in the final photograph.

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