Todd Hido is a Bay Area photographer who gained prominence around the time of the millenium for his ghostly, poetic large format color photographs of houses in the fog. Immediately his work spoke to me in the darkly beautiful way that Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel The Virgin Suicides and the movie Donnie Darko spoke to me. Hido’s photography is about anonymity and what you do not know about seemingly innocuous places, like a typical suburban home. When lit from within, and with fog encasing his subject matter at twilight, the untold stories of these houses and their inhabitants leave an eerie, hypnotic imprint. You also might feel like The Arcade Fire’s 2010 album The Suburbs took some creative energy from the work of Hido, as evidenced in their album cover. Andy Grunberg, in an Artforum piece on Hido entitled “House Sitting” (1998) describes Hido’s photography well: “The houses in Hido’s outdoor shots seem to glow in the dark. While the bright light that shines through the windows gives some indication that these structures are lived in, one can also sense their gloomy desolation.” In addition to his exteriors of houses, Hido also shoots interiors, primarily of foreclosed houses and hotels. For me, Todd Hido is an expert in Northern California noir. There is much made of Southern California, Raymond Chandler-esque landscapes, but Hido alludes to another side of this stereotypically happy, surfers-and-redwoods part of the Golden State. I like lugubrious; it just has to be pretty.
All photography by Todd Hido.
Album art of The Arcade Fire’s album, The Suburbs: Design by Caroline Robert, Art Direction by Vincent Morisset, Photos by Gabriel Jones