Photographer Todd Hido redefines landscape and toys with perception, engaging viewers in a geography mysterious and misty.
Todd Hido is best known for his photographs of suburban houses at night, his Hopper-esque portraits of women in murky hotel rooms, and, more recently, cold, desolate landscapes framed by fogged windshields.
My first interaction with Todd was in Philadelphia in early 2012 at a small photography conference where he gave the keynote address. He’d flown in from California with a book dummy filled with photos for his yet-to-be-titled new book. Seeing him shuffle photographs in and out of pages intrigued me. It was much like watching a squirrel bury nuts and dig them back up: his process was deliberate, yet it was hard to glean what could be going through his mind when he meticulously sequenced his photos. Todd would place two photos beside one another on a spread, then flip to what he had placed on the preceding and succeeding pages, all to get a sense of what worked together, to determine what pairings evoked the story he looked to tell.
In a subsequent meeting at a dinner party, Todd had with him stacks of little 2×2 inch color photographs of models he had photographed. They were snapshots of women who could have been from anyone’s past. They could be pictures of your mother from before you were born, or a shared moment between your sister and her boyfriend you were never supposed to see. These were the latest addition to his book, now carrying the title Excerpts From Silver Meadows (after the Ohio development where he grew up) and the glue that would hold together Hido’s eerie landscapes and desolate interiors.
Mesmerized by the unfurling of Todd’s creative process, by his constant reworking of materials, order, and presentation, I decided to call the artist to see what direction his book had taken since I’d last seen it.