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Hiroshi Sugimoto, Dioramas (Alaskan Wolves), 1994. Private collection. © Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Dioramas (Alaskan Wolves), 1994. Private collection. © Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Hiroshi Sugimoto found that photographing stuffed and wax figures of natural history museum dioramas made them seem to come alive. Maybe it's bc we're so used to seeing living things frozen still in photos, that we infuse the inanimate objects of his photos with an assumption of life.

Hiroshi Sugimoto found that photographing stuffed and wax figures of natural history museum dioramas made them seem to come alive. Maybe it's bc we're so used to seeing living things frozen still in photos, that we infuse the inanimate objects of his photos with an assumption of life.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Upon first arriving in New York in 1974, I did the tourist thing. Eventually I visited the Natural History Museum, where I made a curious discovery: 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’d found a way to see the world as a camera does. However fake the subject, once photographed, it’s as good as real.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Upon first arriving in New York in 1974, I did the tourist thing. Eventually I visited the Natural History Museum, where I made a curious discovery: 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’d found a way to see the world as a camera does. However fake the subject, once photographed, it’s as good as real.

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