Lightning Fields 182
Japanese, born 1948
In a series of experiments, Hiroshi Sugimoto applied charges of electricity directly to unexposed film to create images without the use of camera or lens. His process embodies the medium of photography at its most elemental: Exposing a photo-sensitive material to light, creating an image that is chemically fixed from fading.
The resulting photograph is rich in tonality, its electric shapes abstract while also resembling the basic structures on which natural forms are built. Here, the trace of an electric charge sweeps across the composition, reading in turns like the textures of a human hand, the upward-reaching tentacles of a fern, and the stark branches of a tree.