Todd Hido: Excerpts from Silver Meadows

Todd Hido: Interview for Of the Afternoon

Todd Hido: Interview for Of the Afternoon

San Francisco based photographer Todd Hido was born in the small town of Kent, Ohio, where growing up his first introductions to photography came through MTV and magazines such as Rolling Stone and Interview. His early influences were extremely broad, and among the genre of cinema, he particularly remembers the impact of seeing Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire at age twenty. This film has been especially influential to Hido in the way he approaches sequencing a book, and planning its flow as if floating in an out of people’s lives.

Hido came to international attention with the publication of his first monograph House Hunting in 2001. This collection of twenty-six nocturnal studies of suburban houses, photographed using long exposures and available light, introduced key themes found within his aesthetic vision. This series presented the viewer with a discomforting ambiguity in the concept of ‘home’, as both a source of comfort and isolation. The underlying sense of detachment in House Hunting can partially be attributed to Hido’s objective visual distance which clearly referenced the influence of ‘New Topographics’ photographers such as Robert Adams, and perhaps the pioneering work of Wright Morris’ The Inhabitants (1946). Hido’s subsequent books Taft Street (2001) and Outskirts (2002) further explored this Midwestern domestic suburban environment to great effect.

In 2006, Hido introduced portraiture to his published work, with Between the Two, which juxtaposed images of dilapidated interiors with studies of women. Later monographs such as A Road Divided (2010) presented Hido’s own interpretation on the contemporary American landscape, and the mythical allure of the ‘open road’. The latter book further expanded Hido’s artistic style, with many photographs taken through the blur and fragmentation of the car windscreen, becoming more abstract and painterly in style. In 2013, all of these previous chapters in Hido’s publication history came together to form his most ambitious book project to date, Excerpts from Silver Meadows.

It was a great pleasure to recently interview Todd Hido for photography magazine Of the Afternoon. Hido and I discussed many topics including the tradition of the family album, the influence of his former teacher and mentor photographer Larry Sultan, Hido’s portrayal of women, and his photographic techniques and approaches to photobook design and publishing. You can read the full interview in issue #5 of Of the Afternoon which is available to order online.


Glen Erler: Family Tree

Glen Erler Family Tree

Glen Erler – Family Tree (Kehrer, 2013)

Glen Erler’s newly published monograph Family Tree (Kehrer) documents his return visits to California to find the family and locations remembered from his youth. From a still-life of a blue towel on the ground where he once played freely with childhood friend; to a study of his niece in the same jacuzzi where she nearly drowned at thirteen months old; to a parting view of his father on their last meeting; Erler very gradually pieces together a portrait of his past. At first viewing, it is a document of his family’s life within the physical landscape of Southern California; however a quietly haunting exploration of the emotional landscape of a childhood remembered emerges.

The final section of the book contains photographs taken over a ten day period following Erler’s father’s death: a record of the people who surrounded the photographer at this time, alongside studies of the rooms his father rested in and the objects he used during his final days. In these closing photographs one witnesses the painful tangibility of the marks left by a loved one’s presence, now out of reach. Erler’s book is a very personal journey to understand how fragments of his memory and family history continue to define his character, his present, and future.

Family Tree can be seen as a continuation of the themes developed in Erler’s previous series Age 13-18. This book further explores the tension between home and family remaining a permanent anchor in one’s life, despite the need for independence and the continuous redefinition of one’s own personal identity throughout adulthood. Erler has produced a quietly understated but powerful meditation upon themes of family history, loss, memory and belonging. It is a work that needs to be returned to repeatedly and slowly, in order to fully appreciate its delicate grace.

It was a great pleasure to recently speak to Glen Erler about the development and making of Family Tree. This interview can be read in full in issue #4 of magazine Of the Afternoon which is now available to order online.

A selection of images and personal reminiscences from Family Tree can be viewed on Glen Erler’s website, where the book can also be purchased directly from the photographer.

Photobook favourites: from Avedon to Penn

Photobooks are an ever evolving art form and a constant source of inspiration, whether rediscovering old favourites in new ways, discovering contemporary photographers work for the very first time, or engaging in debates about the history and future of this medium.

This month, the Hong Kong International Photo Festival asked me to contribute a list of my top ten photobooks for this year’s festival. I found it very hard to limit myself to only ten titles, but here is my list of much-loved photographic companions.

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