On a recent visit to Amsterdam I caught up with some artist friends and was taken along to the FOAM gallery to see the photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto (born in Tokyo 1948).

This exhibition ~ curated by Philip Larratt-Smith ~ is a survey of the last forty years of Sugimoto's finest work, since he left Japan in 1970 and travelled to New York, where he studied the art of photography.

Having rejected digital technology Sugimoto works with traditional methods. However, by thinking outside the box he has created some astonishing art. His large format images investigate the natural world, but also perceptions of history, or the complex microscopic views of electrical impulses when they're charged against blank photographic plates. 

This exhibition ends on March 8 2017. It you are in Amsterdam it is well worth a visit.

Hyena-Jackal-Vulture. 1976. Gelatin silver print.

This, and other diaramas, are photographs of stuffed animals displayed in museums. The transition from reality to an image on a photograph seems to create some alchemy, as if bringing the creatures to life again. These photographs were oddly disturbing to me.

Lightning Fields

These iconic images of electricity charged against blank negative plates are simply astonishing. They seem to contain the essence of life, and could be representative of the root structures set down by plant, or the nervous systems beneath our flesh.

When Sugimoto made these images he was paying tribute to photographic pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot.

Photographs of wax models of Henry VIII and some of his wives. Again there is the alchemy of a waxwork becoming surreally  alive when viewed through the lens of these photographs. 

If only those faces could look back out and speak to us about their lives. 

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