PDN Photo of the Day

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields

Hiroshi Sugimoto's Lightning Fields

 © Hiroshi Sugimoto. Lightning Fields 128, 2009

Images from “Lightning Fields,” an exhibition of new photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto on view at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco from September 10 to October 31, 2009.  Each image is a unique document of an electrical current. Hiroshi Sugimoto uses a 400,000-volt Van De Graaff generator to apply an electrical charge directly onto his film.

 © Hiroshi Sugimoto. Lightning Fields 144, 2009

 © Hiroshi Sugimoto. Lightning Fields 128, 2009

Posted in:

Fine Art






  1. Phenomenal. Struck by the strong visual of your work, my partner and I launched into a discussion of possible techniques used in the Lightning Fields 128 photo before even reading the accompanying text. Not only were we electrified by your technique of applying voltage directly to film, we were very happy to see your show opens tomorrow in our hometown. We can’t wait to see your photographs tomorrow evening and hear more about this work!

  2. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields are very beautiful and intriguing. These are known as ‘Trouvelot figures’ and similarly stunning examples taken in the 1880s were shown in the “Brought to Light” exhibition at the SFMOMA, that ran from October 11, 2008 to January 04, 2009. One of these is shown on the web page that advertised the exhibition.


    and more appear in the book of the same name.

  3. Thank you David – great information! Sorry we missed that exhibit at SFMOMA, we will definitely get the book. With the inspiration of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work and your information regarding 1880’s examples, we are eager to learn more about Trouvelot figures – historically and as present day art.

  4. Given the lack of color information, that last photo, absent any context, could easily represent electricity, a river system landscape, a leaf, or veins. Nature is tricky like that.

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