Polar Bear

Hiroshi Sugimoto Japanese

Not on view

When Sugimoto first arrived in New York in 1974, he was fascinated by the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History. "I made a curious discovery," he later recalled. "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." Using careful framing, long exposure times, and a large view camera for clarity of detail, Sugimoto heightens the illusionism of the dioramas themselves, creating exquisite effigies of a natural world on the verge disappearing.

Polar Bear, Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, born Tokyo, 1948), Gelatin silver print

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.