Hiroshi Sugimoto: Four Decades of Photographing Dioramas

by AMNH on

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Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has visited the Museum four times in the past four decades to shoot his "Dioramas" series, which focuses on habitat displays to explore the distinction between the real and the fictive. The last time was in 2012, when he photographed the Olympic Forest diorama in the Hall of North American Forests. 

A black-tailed deer stands between the tree trunks of a Western red cedar and a Western hemlock in the Olympic Forest diorama, in the Museum’s Hall of North American Forests.
Olympic Forest Diorama 
© AMNH\D. Finnin

What initially surprised Sugimoto about the series was that his photos looked utterly real--as if he were photographing on location, and not in front of a three-dimensional representation of a real location. While credit goes to Sugimoto's talent as a photographer, the effect wouldn't be possible without the skill of the Museum's diorama artists. Watch this video to find out more. 

Learn about how Museum artists originally created the three-dimensional foregrounds and two-dimensional background paintings that appear in the dioramas here.