Shin Sugino

Region: Toronto Ontario
Born 1946, Japan


Shin Sugino is a renowned photographer with an extensive body of work in both commercial and art photography. Born in Japan and raised by French nuns, Sugino originally studied to become a priest, but became disillusioned with this life and immigrated to Canada at the age of 19 to become a photographer. Graduating from Ryerson in 1973, he soon won a Canada Council grant, and received assignments sending him around the world for Time, Newsweek, the LA Times, and the National Film Board. Notable work from this time period includes his 1975 exhibition at the NFB gallery, Pilgrimage, and his exhibition sponsored by Polaroid, Moroccan Portraits, which featured a variety of subjects in Morocco holding Polaroid portraits of themselves. Sugino later became involved in shooting still photography for feature films, as well as advertising photography, where he developed the first fully digital studios in Canada. In recent years, Sugino has also begun producing tintype art photographs.

Sugino has identified recurring themes in his art of ‘religious zeal, sensuous forms, concealed identity, cultural dislocation and suffering and redemption through art.’ Of his role as a photographer, Sugino has said, ‘The ‘selfie’ revolution notwithstanding, a photographer is by definition an outsider. As an art photographer, my role, my pleasure, is to capture a subject, a scene, of which I am not a part. […] The irony of photographer as outsider, of course, is that the resulting image transforms me to insider — the viewer can see what I chose to capture, and imagine what I did not. I’ve become intertwined with the subject. My art may not be a remedy, after all, but it has brought me closer to belonging than I ever thought imaginable.’”

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