Born in Tokyo, Sugimoto initially studied politics and sociology but in 1970 moved to LA to train in Fine Art at the Art Center College of Art and Design. He moved to New York to work as a photographer and, influenced by Dada and Surrealism, became interested in representations of reality.
Sugimoto’s subject matter is often theatrical- oceans, cinemas, opera houses, even museum displays of stuffed animals. He exposes the tension between watchers and watched, the false and the true. His unearthly photographs are like time capsules; using a large format camera and long exposure times the artist manages to capture the transient. His work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sugimoto currently divides his time between Tokyo and New York.