Known for his gritty work and solitary method, Todd Hido is a contemporary American photographer whose artistic output has often focused on the dark underside of suburbia that is hidden from us in plain sight. What seems to be the focal point of this author’s photos is not the subject that’s placed before the camera but the experimentations with the quality of natural and artificial light. Todd takes most of his photographs during long, solitary drives through the American suburban neighborhoods and, after they are done, later edits the negatives together, manipulating them until he produces a picture that he feels truly portrays the encounter with a particular location. It should be noted that this San Francisco-based photographer has also produced a number of interior shots featuring human figures.
Learning and Developing His Photography
Todd Hido was born on the 25th of August in the year of 1968, in the city of Kent, Ohio. As he never truly doubted that art is something he wants to pursue a career in, the entire educational period of Todd’s life was spent learning on artistic institutions. Hido graduated in 1991 with a B.F.A. from Tufts University in Medford and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. An M.F.A. was gained in 1996 at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California. Right from the start of his career, Todd was influenced by the varied works of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward Hopper, Stephen Shore, Robert Adams, Walker Evans, Nan Goldin, Emmet Gowin, Larry Sultan, Alfred Stieglitz, Andreas Gursky and Rineke Dijkstra. He established a solitary style that results in images which offer voyeuristic glimpses into houses inhabited by haunted, lonely beings. As it was said above, Hido is fascinated with lights and what they can do to a photograph, so he allows the reflections of sun rays and the illuminations of television sets to really take over his work. After his photographs are flushed with color in the post-production, Todd’s compositions seem as if they are offering us a glimpse into a spirit world that somehow parallels our own.
Successful Books and Projects
Over the course of his career, Hido has produced a number of well-received photographic books whilst his images were exhibited widely and are included in various public and private collections. By now, he has already established a reputation for publishing almost all of his artwork as stand-alone books, which he considers to be a vital part of his art. As we’ve said above, although Todd is primarily known for his pictures of suburbia, this author also produced a large number of interior shots that mostly featured female models. These subjects were often the artist’s girlfriends or wife, so every single picture of that type has a strong intimate note. As for Hido’s most notable projects, we would like to mention a few that seem to serve the role of true milestones of his career. His early series titled as Houses at Night (1997) showcased numerous farm and suburban homes lit with only a single light source, a masterful decision that lent a sense of urgency and despair to the otherwise ordinary scenes. Projects that strayed off from the usual repertoire of this author are the multiple photographic portraits series of prostitutes set in spare hotel rooms – these include Between the Two (2008) and Fragmented Narratives (2011).
This San Francisco artist uses the night as a picture hunting opportunity as Todd Hido makes most of his photography series in the veil of darkness
The Style of Todd Hido
When we look at the pure visuals of Hido’s work, we are not at all surprised that his main inspirations come from the aforementioned works of Alfred Hitchcock and Rineke Dijkstra, as evidenced by bright compositional spots amid desolated locations. This particular visual style fits in extremely well with the voyeuristic nature of Hido’s work, a characteristic that is only further underlined by the editing processes that follow the making of every photograph. That technique is best defined by the author himself as Hido explained it with the following statement: I shoot sort of like a documentarian, but I print like a painter.
Todd Hido lives and works in San Francisco, California, The United States.
- Hido, T., Todd Hido: Roaming Landscape Photographs, Nazraeli; 1st edition, 2005
- Hido, T., Halpern, G., Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude: The Photography Workshop Series, Aperture; Prima edizione, 2014
Featured image: Todd Hido – Photo of the artist – Image via eyesinprogress.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only.