Daydream In My Garden features two black-and-white photo series produced by this young photographer between 2003 and 2006. Walk In the Night, his first mature work, is a series of nightscapes spontaneously shot on desolate streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn. By contrast, his second series, Paper-Work, features folded sheets of white paper set against white backgrounds, carefully staged in his small bedroom studio. Although seemingly very different, these two series share the distinctive sensitivity Sugimoto expresses through his labor-intensive darkroom operations. He manipulates contrasts in order to achieve a rich spectrum of shades between black and white. This emphasis on tonality is so important to his work that light draws us in with the magnetism of the void, and shadow becomes poignant. Consequently, looking at his photography changes our normal perception of positive/negative, presence/absence, real/ethereal.
The exhibition also introduces his latest series, Daydream In My Garden (2007), which explores flowers, subjects Sugimoto describes as “amazing and necessary in my life.” Their presence brings him a profound feeling of comfort and happiness, inspiring him to wander in a garden of the imagination where he ‘arranges’ flowers just so they can appeal more directly to him. The results are unusually subtle, almost skeletal images of flowers. He then adds a tint of color by hand in the manner of old postcards.