I first saw Hiroshi Sugimoto's work several years ago when the De Young Museum in San Francisco featured an exquisite exhibition of his stunning work. He is probably best known for his seascapes, but I was/am equally fascinated by his photographs of the dioramas from The New York Museum of Natural History. Sugimoto said the following about his photographs of these exhibits:

"Upon first arriving in New York in 1974, I did the tourist thing. Eventually I visited the
Natural History Museum, where I made a curious discovery: the stuffed animals positioned before painted backdrops looked utterly fake, yet by taking a quick peek with one eye closed, all perspective vanished, and suddenly they looked very real. I'd found a way to see the world as a camera does. However fake the subject, once photographed, it's as good as real" (www.sugimotohiroshi.com).

In that spirit, I visited the Academy of Science in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park back in 2009 with the intention of trying out this approach myself. The museum was recently rebuilt and reopened in 2008 and much of it is new, but they kept many of the original dioramas that I remember so fondly from my childhood (but they were renovated and given a fresh new look).

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