Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.

— Hiroshi Sugimoto

The most valuable Hiroshi Sugimoto quotes to get the best of your day

Photography is like a found object. A photographer never makes an actual subject; they just steal the image from the world... Photography is a system of saving memories. It's a time machine, in a way, to preserve the memory, to preserve time.

37

If I already have a vision, my work is almost done. The rest is a technical problem.

30

Fossils work almost the same way as photography as a record of history.

The accumulation of time and history becomes a negative of the image. And this negative comes off, and the fossil is the positive side. This is the same as the action of photography.

20

The 1,000 Buddha, to me, is almost like a contemporary art piece.

15

When I wake up I just make it happen. My dreams come true- that is the artistic practice.

12

I'm inviting the spirits into my photography. It's an act of God.

6

People have been reading photography as a true document, at the same time they are now getting suspicious. I am basically an honest person, so I let the camera capture whatever it captures whether you believe it or not is up to you; it’s not my responsibility, blame my camera, not me.

5

Population diminishing, even in Japan and Italy, the population is diminishing.

When society can reach a sustainable place or gain comfortable income, then people tend to have fewer children. Poverty makes a chain reaction of having many children. So when society reaches some kind of level, then it will turn toward getting a smaller population.

4

I didn't want to be criticized for taking low-quality photographs, so I tried to reach the best, highest quality of photography and then to combine this with a conceptual art practice. But thinking back, that was the wrong decision [laughs]. Developing a low-quality aesthetic is a sign of serious fine art-I still see this.

3

Art and religion have the same origin.

Art first, or religion first? Maybe consciousness first! Consciousness always comes with religious feeling and artistic identification. It's the same origin.

3

I don't love the postmodern statement: "You shouldn't be spiritual if you are the artist."

3

When people call me a photographer, I always feel like something of a charlatan—at least in Japanese. The word shashin, for photograph, combines the characters sha, meaning to reflect or copy, and shin, meaning truth, hence the photographer seems to entertain grand delusions of portraying truth.

3

About Hiroshi Sugimoto

Quotes 44 sayings
Profession Photographer
Birthday February 23, 1948

To me, as a visual artist, I don't want to get into the theory of Buddhism.

There are many Buddhism theories and they fight each other, like Christians as well.

2

I don't know how many serious Christians exist here in America, but the Japanese, the younger generation is leaving the Buddhist religion mentality behind.

2

Not any particular religion or school of religion, but being an artist, you have to be spiritual, in a way.

2

Art always helps religion; it became an inseparable phenomenon when human beings gained consciousness.

0

Art is technique: a means by which to materialize the invisible realm of the mind.

0

My art has gained some high value.

0

I feel that I'm in a very interesting position, where I'm standing back to look at this change, at this moment in history of human beings. If the end of the civilization comes before the end of my life, that's lucky! I want to witness how this big story of humans ends.

0

Art resides even in things with no artistic intentions.

0

The Buddhist concept is that it takes 48 days to get near this state [of death].

So it's a slow process, moving into, not a permanent death, but the world of the dead.

0

All over the planet, nature is being transformed into 'un-nature' at breakneck speed...My life is part of natural history. I long to know where that history came from and where it is going.

0

I came to California in 1970 and so many people were asking if I was a Buddhist or knew Zen theory, asking if I was enlightened already or not. So I said, "Yes, I am enlightened," and then I studied quickly to catch up.

0

[I'm concerned with] aesthetics and this idea of how the passage between life and death goes. I can visually present that by borrowing this Buddhist statue.

0

Life is one passage and then you keep moving into another state.

It's like you might be reborn, but the process of being born you won't remember - the same way that the dying process is a slow movement from consciousness to unconsciousness.

0

To me photography functions as a fossilization of time.

0

I want to put it back together now, this artistic expression that contains religious feeling. I want to investigate: What was the origin? What's happened in the human mind? Can we trace back the moment of the creation of human consciousness? And why did only humans gain consciousness, not other animals? So, evolution? I don't know whether or not I can believe evolution. Maybe we wait for another 100,000 years and then apes get consciousness.

0

Many people [still] believe that at the time of your death, 1,000 Buddhas show up and welcome you into the paradise state.

0

We need to have nature back in our atmosphere.

There might be a turning point of going backward - within a few thousand years we are going back to the Stone Age! There are many scenarios [with] the robot technologies: Humans no longer need to walk; machines can produce products and food and everything. You might not be able to recognize what's false and what is real.

0

Where do you draw the line as a human being? Written record is only, what, a couple thousand years? And this scientific revolution is less than a hundred years. And computers only a few decades! We've changed so much. It's amazing, the speed of changes.

0

I try to never be satisfied; this way I will always be challenging my spirit.

0

I have a strong feeling about this quick movement and changing of society and populations growing - something scary.

0

Life is one passage and then you keep moving into another state.

0

However fake the subject, once photographed, it's as good as real.

0

I have no policy for my collection. For example, there's a bunch of meteorite [on the windowsill in my studio]. I touch it and I feel the energy from the universe. I have a 1/1,000th of a fragment of stone-age tools and pottery and debris. I can learn many things from my collection. Actually, the 1,000 Buddha, I wanted to buy it, but it's a National Treasure, so I couldn't. If you cannot buy it, just photograph it!

0

The Seascapes are before human beings and after human beings.

The Seascapes were there before our presence, and when our civilization is over, seascapes will still exist. Our presence is temporary. Civilization is only 5,000 to 6,000 years. The history of ours, the material history of consciousness, is rather short.

0

My concept was, within the five-minute video, for people to see one million Buddhas. So I made a group of the images and it keeps accelerating to reach this one million point. The movie was invented from the still photos.

0

Waterlilies always come in Buddhist sculpture.

The Buddhas all stand on lotus pedestals, because the lotus is grown from the mud. The mud represents the stained world, a dirty world, but growing from the dirt is such a beautiful, pure thing. This is the way the spirit should be.

0

It's pre-photography, a fossilization of time, Americans have done the Zen garden to death. I wanted to do something different.

0

I'm thinking about the end of civilization.

We may not keep growing like we are now. There must be an end of civilization. That's what I did as a show at the Palais de Tokyo, the 33 scenarios of how this civilization ends.

0

[Takashi] Murakami, do you think he is spiritual? He is more like de-spiritualized. De-spiritualized might be the most contemporary aspect of the human mind.

0

When I saw this Broken Kilometer, it reminded me of these 1,000 Buddhas.

That piece is 1,000 one-meter gold rods, and this is 1,000 pieces of gold gilded wooden sculpture. In terms of design, it's up to the space's character.

0

I don't know whether the future or 2018 exists or not, but if it exists, I'm offering a show to a museum in Australia titled "Time Reversed." Time is going backwards.

0
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