I've just started reading Garrett Stewart's Framed Time and in his introduction he mentions Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto's Theatres project.
From my limited research: Sugimoto studied politics and sociology before becoming an art student at the Art Center College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He typically shoots with a large-format camera (8" x 10") and was the winner of the Hasselblad Honour in 2001. He's influenced by Duchamp and the Dadaists and Surrealists, and known as much for his great technical skill as he is for the philosophical and conceptual aspects of his work.
For Theatres, Sugimoto takes long exposure photographs in disused theatres and drive-ins, allowing the camera to capture an entire film. The light of the films in all cases ends up filling the rectangle of the screen so that no traces of individual frames remain on the screen, instead leaving an almost eerie luminescence. At the same time the 8" x 10" format allows for incredible detail to be capture in the surrounding environment - decorative flourishes in the theatres, old seatbacks, the speakerposts at the drive-ins, the arcs of stars passing overhead during the viewing... All in all these works are pretty breathtaking and spur meditation on film's history, our (changing) viewing and exhibition practices, the nature of film and its relationship to light, and I guess, especially in Stewart's case, the relation of film to films as the physical role of film itself in "films" is challenged and mutated and augmented by digital processes.
Here are a couple examples from this series (click on the pictures to take you to some more Sugimoto information):
Posted by T-O-M at 7/19/2008 02:33:00 PM