The great photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto produced an amazing series of images of dioramas at the Museum of Natural History in New York (https://monovisions.com/hiroshi-sugimoto-dioramas/). He wrote the following about his series: “When I first arrived in New York in 1974, I visited many of the city’s tourist sites, one of which was the the American Museum of Natural History. I made a curious discovery while looking at the exhibition of animal dioramas: the stuffed animals positioned before painted backdrops looked utterly fake, yet by taking a quick peek with one eye closed, all perspective vanished, and suddenly they looked very real. I had found a way to see the world as a camera does. However fake the subject, once photographed, it’s as good as real.”
Back in 2009, I walked into the Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco and took some images of the dioramas housed there. Now, some twelve years later, I have returned to the raw images and find myself thinking about how dioramas are staged and composed as if a photograph … the same view waiting for any that pass by. That said– here are my images inspired by Sugimoto’s wonderful series. Hopefully, they serve as an homage to a great photographer.
(Click on an Image for a Larger View)