Photo-Respiration: Tokihiro Sato

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Having visited this display today I decided it would be well worth sharing what I saw and felt.

The work of Japanese photographer (in the true sense of the word) Tokihiro Sato is currently on display in the main gallery of the photography gallery at The Art Institute of Chicago. This work, roughly 15 photographs will be on display until May 8th 2005. If you are going to be in the Chicago area, it would surely be worth the trip!

The thing you might notice first about this showing is that there is no lights in the gallery from overhead. The only light in the room comes from behind the photographs, which are black and white gelatin silver transparencies. The photos are roughly 30"x40" or so, possibly a bit smaller made from 8x10 negatives. All of the photos are lit from the back, causing them to glow, and also leaving a aura around each image that extends beyond the photo itself onto the surrounding wall, further making the images and room seem to be framed and enveloped by light in a way I've never seen in a gallery.

This showing consists of photos taken during the day, or night, yet all were shot with very long exposures, over 1 hour. Each image has many little spots of light in it, or in the more visually stunning examples slivers of light, long lines. The photographer uses either a flashlight or a mirror to reflect light back through the cameras lens. So, out of all of the little spots of light in the photo, he was in every spot. This fact becomes quite interesting when you see the photos where it is a snowy scene, and there is lights, but no tracks... interesting to figure out how he did it (hint: the long exposure helped)!

The glow from these photos is beautiful, the images themselves are outstanding. A huge attention to detail, some of the photos are hard to comprehend how it was even possibly made, thousands of movements, thousands of slivers of light.

I think the thing I left with in my mind most of all with these photos is the luminance of them, they simply were glowing with life, scenes without any people in them seem to have this lively tonality, the light spots painted by the photographer leaving some trail of light along his path. The images of this on the web are no match to the actual thing, this has to be seen to be believed.


I strongly urge anyone in the Chicago area before May 8th 2005 to visit this show! It is some beautiful work!


the art institutes website about this display:
http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/sato.html

general website containing some of the photographers work (some on display at AIC some not(if you really wanted to know which specifics i could tell you!):

http://photoarts.com/gallery/SATO/satoexh.html
 

Jim Chinn

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Thanks for the review.

I am in Chicago several times a year and will be there next weekend with my oldest daughter. We usually rotate between the Field Museum the Art Institue or planetarium on each trip, so this time we will make an exception and return the the Art Institue.
 
OP
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Jim Chinn said:
will be there next weekend with my oldest daughter..... we will make an exception and return the the Art Institue.

Sounds good, let us know what you think.
 

bjorke

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By coincidence, I was at Haines Gallery in San Francisco just this afternoon, where Sato has a number of translucent backlit "respiration" images on display. Folks on the west coast might like to know they're available for free viewing there -- 49 Geary downtown, fifth floor.
 
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