152MC: Todd Hido and Robert Adams

On my latest quest to come up with a solid plan for 152 rather than continuing on a course to self-distruction (choosing one idea is hard when you finally have more than one) I have discovered two connecting photographers, Todd Hido and Robert Adams. Todd Hido was originally recommended to me by my lecturer in my 152MC: Lecturer Suggestions post, during research I slowly fell in love with his connection to Crewdson in that they explore looniness, isolation and mysterious in their work to show narrative. Todd Hido My method of research was to print out Q&A interviews conducted with Hido and highlight the interesting facts and observations. Lucia Davies described Hido’s practise in the preamble of the interview:

“Hido uses only available light and long exposures that make these saturated images almost glow off the print. His exploration into themes of loneliness continues through his interior shots which again absent of people, but suggest that a presence was once there”

This is interesting as he doesn’t use portraiture often in his works and instead creates a sense of human presence rather than straight out presenting it. In the Q&A interview, Hido responds to a question of attraction to the American suburbs

“I found this completely fogbound neighbourhood that very much reminded me of the place I grew up in Ohio”

and again we see more evidence of self-influence

“I am very much influenced by my past…..the most important thing Larry (Sultan) taught me was to draw from within, to use your own history as the basis for your art”

I find that last statement so powerful and inspiring because it can produce such personal art without being graphic. It is evident that Todd Hido is influenced by his personal upbringing but there is also another kind of influence Hido draws from, cinematography like Crewdson uses to inspire his work.

“I guess I am attracted to that cinematic feeling where somethings about to happen. Kind of like a pregnant moment. I’m very much attracted to that kid of narrative element”

Hido rounds off this interview with Dazed Digital by quoting visual artist and photographer, Lewis Baltz who made an interesting statement that contributes to the ongoing argument as to whether Photography can ever have a narrative. I think this quote wonderfully comes down on the side of Photography being a tool to create narrative.

“Photography is a profound corner that sits in between literature and film”

Robert Adams My discovery of Adams led on from Hido as I discovered he named Robert Adams as one of his influences (Hopper, Hitchcock, Shore and Goldin included). Adams work in ‘Summer Nights, Walking’ is similar in theme to that of Hido’s House Hunting. In an online article, Aperture describes his book.

“This classic body of work, Summer Nights, Walking offers a reason to feel, once more, a regard for the quotidian American landscape that Adams reveals as still beautiful despite humanity’s intrusion”

This shows similar elements between Adams and Hido, the idea of human presence having an impact on the exterior/interior and both have a love for the American landscape. These two photographers have influenced me hugely as I slowly move away from the idea of a huge Gregory Crewdson photography production to a more straightforward and achievable landscape narrative like Hido and Adams.

All this research has hugely influenced and excited me, so next I will be toying with the idea of taking Adams and Hido’s American Suburban photographs and making it my own by photographing British towns and villages, since I live in England and the village way of life has been my upbringing and my influence.

References: Dazed Digital (2015) Talking to Todd Hido [Online] http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/8087/1/talking-to-todd-hido [1st April 2015]

Aperature (2015) Summer Nights, Walking [Online] http://aperture.org/shop/books/robert-adams-summer-nights-walking-book [1st April 2015]

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