Since the mid 1970s, Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has worked on a photo-series entitled “Theaters,” in which he documents the interior of movie auditoriums and drive-ins, during a showing. The long exposure used for the photographs correspond with the projection time of the film. This allows him to capture the duration of the entire film in a single image… essentially photographing a period of time. The captivating architecture of the space is solely illuminated by the time-compressed light of the film itself, and perhaps more interestingly, by the type of film playing. According to Sugimoto, “different movies give different brightnesses. If it’s an optimistic story, I usually end up with a bright screen; if it’s a sad story, it’s a dark[er] screen. Occult movie? Very dark.” One of my favorite piece was supposedly photographed during the filming of Casablanca.
Castro Theater, San Francisco, 1992
I have had a particular fondness to Sugimoto’s works because it deals so intimately with the passage of time and narratives, something that drives the ideals behind Nalata Nalata. Each of his works stands so beautifully on its own, but through the multiplicity of images am I truly able to understand and appreciate what he is trying to convey. Absolutely Timeless! You can view more of Sugimoto’s work here.
Images are courtesy of the Fraenkel Gallery, C4 Contemporary Art Gallery and the publication Hiroshi Sugimoto: Theatres by Hans Belting. Quotation is courtesy Cat. Thomas Kellein, Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Time Exposed,” 1995, pg.91 and Walther König, Köln, Hans Belting, “Hiroshi Sugimoto: Theatres,” 2006, pg 143.