Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Presentation - Hiroshi Sugimoto's portraits

Yesterday I was able to benefit from one of the perks of working a day job at LACMA. The museum's upcoming collector's committee event is coming up, where members of the committee each donate to a fund that is used to acquire a piece or pieces that were selected by curators. The members see the works after the curators talk about each and then vote on which to acquire. Unfortunately, the works on display are closed to the public but staff get to walk through.

One of the works up for consideration is a collection of seven of Hiroshi Sugimoto's "portraits" of wax figures of old british royalty from Madame Tussaud's, which were in turn modeled from old paintings - a portrait of a portrait of a portrait (maybe I should shoot Sugimoto's photos Richard Prince style and turn them into GIF's?).

They are truly gorgeous and I recommend you go see them if ever on display in your neck of the woods, but what really caught my eye and got me thinking is the way they are presented. The photos are in a narrow, rectangular space with walls that are painted dark with lights shining directly on them at the exact size and in the same shape as the frames. I'd seen this lighting before at the Reina Sofia and was impressed by it then, but seeing it illuminating these photos with a strong dark element to them in the dark space was truly impressive and the presentation screamed, "Buy me!"

I'll think long and hard for my next show in terms of the presentation of the space and lighting. After all, if we as photographers take such care with framing and lighting for our images, why not for the presentation of our work also?

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