Sato on Sunday

Andréa Fernandes

At the request of reader Becci, this weekend's edition of "Feel Art Again" features Tokihiro Satō. The contemporary Japanese photographer is known for his black and white Photo-Respiration series, including the 1993 triptych "#171 Monflanquin (South)" shown above. His recent work, such as 2005's "Brooklyn Bridge" shown below, is much more colorful.

1. The works in Tokihiro Satō's Photo-Respiration series are created with a large-format (8x10) camera. Satō mounts the camera on a tripod for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours while he moves through the space—sometimes running, hiking, or climbing—with a flashlight or mirror creating points of light or illuminated lines.

2. Satō's photographs have been likened to sculptures of light. Interestingly enough, Satō was originally trained as a sculptor. He received both his BFA (1981) and his MFA (1983) in sculpture from the Tokyo University of the Arts. His first forays in photography were simply to document his sculptures.

3. For his Gleaning Light series, Satō created a series of public camera obscura sculptures, including multiple pinhole cameras. "Brooklyn Bridge" (shown below) was created with one of the multiple pinhole cameras.

4. Satō produces his photos as large gelatin silver transparencies, which he then suspends in front of white fluorescent lights. This method of display further enhances the glowing nature of Satō's Photo-Respiration works.

5. A reporter once asked Satō what the reflections of light in his Photo-Respiration. works "represented" to him. Satō replied that he does not intend any representation. The spots of light merely represent where he stood shining the light into the camera.

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Larger versions of "#171 Monflanquin (South)" and "Brooklyn Bridge" are available. Fans should check out his faculty page with Tokyo University of the Arts and his collections in the Leslie Tonkonow gallery and the Haines gallery. "Feel Art Again" usually appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at with details of current exhibitions, for sources or further reading, or to suggest artists.