In Praise of Shadow 980727, 1998

In Praise of Shadow 980726, 1998

In Praise of Shadow 980816, 1998


In Praise of Shadow



Japanese novelist Jun'ichiro Tanizaki disdained the "violent" artificial light wrought by modern civilization. I, too, am an anachronist: rather than live at the cutting edge of the contemporary, I feel more at ease in the absent past. 

Domesticating fire marks humankind's ascendancy over other species. For tens of thousands of years, we have illuminated the night with flames. Reflecting upon this, I decided to record  "the life of a candle."  Late one midsummer night, I threw open the windows, and invited in the night breeze.  Lighting a candle, I opened my camera lens. After several hours of wavering in the breeze, the candle burned out.  Savoring the dark, I slowly closed the shutter.  The candle's life varied on any given night―short, intensely burning nights and long, constantly glowing nights―each different, yet equally lovely in its afterglow.


- Hiroshi Sugimoto