Todd Hido was born in Kent, Ohio in 1968. He went to Tufts University and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1991. He then went to the California College of Arts and Crafts and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1996.1 He is now based out of San Francisco. Todd Hido’s photographic works are in colour. He uses available light rather than studio lights and long exposures to compensate. He shoots suburban interiors and exteriors. He also shoots landscapes and portraits.2 In a recent interview, Todd admitted to his work being mainly processed-based; less about the concept and more about the final piece’s ability to be open to interpretation. He said, “I’m a big fan of like, really short artist’s statements that are kinda vague.” This is exemplified in an artist’s statement about a book displaying his images of foreclosed homes. “I have always been haunted by these places, thinking of all the broken lives, and how they mirrored my own unstable childhood. When I made these images I was interested in places that were ultimately about people. Homes and home loans are at the heart of our seriously troubled economic situation. Walls do talk. I hope these images get at this state we are in, in their own quiet way.”3 Todd’s images have dramatic compositions and gorgeous long exposures.
© Todd Hido, 1951, 1997 from “Houses at Night”
The suburban exteriors are of homes and apartments shot at night. The landscapes are either shot at night or at dawn or dusk. These shooting times create an ominous glow, and the photographs often include fog. These photographs show us that suburbia can be eerie or cold rather than the bright and happy place it appears to be in the daytime. While showing a different side of suburbia, the photographs still connote themes of family and memory. The lighting creates an uneasy feeling of isolation. This view of suburbia, void of human presence, allows the viewer to imagine their own narrative.4
© Todd Hido, 1952, from the series Ocupied Homes
The interiors that Todd photographs are of foreclosed homes, occupied homes, and motels. The foreclosed homes create a sense of a “used” space. The interiors have only traces of the previous owners. They are empty spaces, but still have a human presence.5 “His potent and surreal photographs of empty spaces evoke a longing for the time when things were better in those homes.”5 They force the viewer to question, “what went wrong?”5
The portraits Todd shoots are of women, sometimes nude, interacting with a blank-looking room. They are usually shot in hotel rooms. The rooms are empty and minimal minimal, but, like Todd’s interior shots, they have a “used” feeling. Todd sometimes shoots these portraits with a vintage 126 camera. The raw graininess adds to the feeling of loneliness and sadness. The gaze of the women in the photographs is often jarring; staring straight into the lens. Their clothing (or lack thereof) and surroundings suggest a sombre, depressed atmosphere.
1.) Photo Eye Bookstore,”Kin Subscription Series Number Two”
2.) Michael Berger Gallery,”Todd Hido – Biography”
3.) This Long Century,”Todd Hido – Foreclosed Homes”
4.) Wirtz Gallery,”Todd Hido – New Photographs”
5.) Photo Eye Bookstore,”Kin Subscription Series Number Two”
See more of Todd’s work here