Water and air. These primordial substances, which make possible all life on earth, are the subject of Hiroshi Sugimoto's Seascapes series. For over thirty years, Sugimoto has traveled the world photographing its seas, producing a body of work that is an extended meditation on the passage of time and the natural history of the earth. Sugimoto has called photography the fossilization of time, and the Seascapes photographs simultaneously capture a discrete moment in time but also evoke a feeling of timelessness. This volume, the second in a series of books on Sugimoto's art, presents the complete series of over 200 Seascapes, some of which have never before been reproduced. All are identical in format, with the horizon line precisely bifurcating each image, though at times the sea and sky almost merge into one seamless unit. Each photograph captures a moment when the sea is placid, almost flat. Within this strict format, however, he has created a limitless array of portraits of his subjects. An essay by Munesuke Mita, Professor of Sociology at the University of Tokyo, examines contemporary art through a sociological lens, comparing the recent history of art with mathematical predictions of population growth. He connects Sugimoto's body of work to this unique analysis of the art world.
Born in Tokyo in 1948, Sugimoto left Japan in 1970 after graduating from Rikkyo University with a degree in economics. He travelled throughout the Soviet Union and Europe and then moved to Los Angeles, where he studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. His work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo shows, and he was the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2001 and the Mainichi Art Prize in 1988. He currently lives in New York and Tokyo.