January 30, 2011

hiroshi sugimoto: lightning fields (2009)

For his latest project, called Lightning Fields, the award-winning photographer traded optics for electricity. He wields a Van de Graaff generator to send up to 400,000 volts through film to a metal table. The resulting fractal branching, subtle feathering, and furry whorls call to mind vascular systems, geologic features, and trees. “I see the spark of life itself, the lightning that struck the primordial ooze,” Sugimoto says. Although some of the effects happen by chance, the artist does try to exercise control. “I have a kitchen’s worth of utensils that produce sparks with different characteristics,” he says. “But there are many variables — weather, humidity, perhaps even what I had for breakfast — I’m never sure what influences the results.”

all photographs copyright © hiroshi sugimoto all rights reserved
via wired magazine