Todd Hido

In short, Todd is great and you should watch this. When it comes to moody imagery Hido is one of the first photographers I think of. He is also one of the most copied, or attempted to be copied, photographers I’ve ever seen. I have such admiration for anyone who can produce immediately recognizable imagery, and when I see his work I know it’s his within seconds of seeing that first image. I was recently at a group show that was leaving me…how should I say…less than enthusiastic about myself, photography, life in general and the even the lousy parking situation I had to endure to even get in the show, when suddenly I looked across the room and noticed two of Todd’s images. I just went “Ahhhhhhhhhh.” And it’s not like Todd shoots warm, fuzzy imagery, but what he does shoot has meaning and FEEL, and that was what I needed at that precise moment.

Todd Hido from Pier 24 Photography on Vimeo.

In addition to his photographic talent, the guys knows books, and sequencing, and editing and publications in general, and when I say this I don’t mean just HIS books I mean he has a working knowledge of the entire history of illustrated books. So when you see a book of Todd’s you know that it looks and feels the way it does based on a variety of factors, history and knowledge. Take some time and watch this film, look him up online and learn a little something.

26 responses to “Todd Hido”

  1. LionelB says:

    I would be afraid. Afraid of being arrested. Afraid of what it might betray about my mental state. I would be shaking like a leaf, in turmoil. Yet these images are entrancing, evocative and not trivial. There is no sex, no violence but they show an ordinariness which is somehow nevertheless off limits. Thanks Dan for signposting the way to another fascinating artist.

    • Smogranch says:

      Lionel,
      Great point. You put yourself in Todd’s shoes and it does appear like it would be a bit creepy at times. I remember shooting something remotely similar, ONE time in Texas while on assignment for someone. Guy comes out of his house says “You are going to get shot.”

    • LionelB says:

      The gun thing had crossed my mind …
      What is clear is that in the first instance, these are images which Todd must make, for Todd. Only afterwards is it about sharing. Many ‘photographers’ make images primarily as product, for us. That is a big divide.

    • Smogranch says:

      Lionel,
      That is a GREAT point. A lot of work is done today to gain audience, win friends, influence people. It’s incredible to me how many people value things like “likes” on FB when it comes to their photography. I think this is an example of cyberspace photographers. I think the real photogs, those on Earth who work in the real photography world, create the work they feel they need to create. Period.

  2. Dan… You are always right on! Love the images and Todd’s vibe as he recounts how he works. Inspirational! How do you find these guys? 🙂 Let me know if you are coming to Toronto for Contact again this year. If so, I might stop by and say hi!

    • Smogranch says:

      Jeff,
      I was introduced to Todd a few years ago and have watched his work since. He’s very important in the book world so he is now on my radar more than ever before. Don’t think I’ll be at Contact but Jason might.

  3. Randy says:

    I love how he doesn’t “create the scene”, he visits it. Makes me wanna not go to work tomorrow, and make a book. I really like what he’s doing.

  4. Wim says:

    Totally inspiring! Thanks!

  5. Brendan says:

    Good interview, thanks. What really stands out for me though is something that you talk about a lot- dedication to a project, and that a project takes time.

    These photographs are part of a body of work from 1996- 2010, 14 years worth of having the same underlying idea. That’s pretty cool.

    • Smogranch says:

      Brendan,
      This is how the real deal people work. Plain and simple. This USED to be the norm, but in the age of shoot for two weeks, market for two years, we have fewer and fewer people putting the time in. Think about a time when you didn’t have a computer, a cellphone and didn’t feel the need to market yourself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via social media. It would have provided less of an easily accessible global audience, but FAR more time for actual photography.

    • Brendan says:

      Very true, more time was available, and possibly more importantly you were’t exposed to the endless 24/7 visual mainline that tends to strangle creativity rather than enhance it. I know I’m guilty of wasting time and worrying stupidly about whether what you shoot is good or appreciated. Removing yourself from that is difficult these days.

    • Smogranch says:

      Brendan,
      Most of what I see online isn’t feedback it’s “great work” syndrome. Being liked is primarily based on a very slow, very mild lie. People create content and personas based on getting likes which ultimately leads to people created profiles that are built to gain attention and followers. For me, this is a complete and total waste of time, but obviously I’m in the minority.

  6. Sean says:

    Beautiful photographs and his complete philosophy on photography resonates with me. Travel, look, photograph the scene as it’s found.

  7. Tim says:

    What was so bad about the exhibition you were in (if you don’t mind me asking)?
    Todd’s work is really something. I never realised you could get such colourful results with colour neg film. And this idea of driving along and stopping to take a picture is what I love so much about photography, exploration.

    • Smogranch says:

      Tim,
      The film is a part of what he does, the PRINT is yet another. And, he really know what he wants and needs from the print, which is also something being lost today as much of what is created is never printed. The print is the final statement from the photographer, or book which can be even more intimate than a print. Nothing separating you from the actual print. No glass, nothing.

      As for the show. It was “typical.” Sterile, quiet, predictable.

    • Tim says:

      I probably agree. I should probably be printing more of what I make. My drawback is that I can never get what I see on my screen out of a printer. But you do have a point. Admittedly alot of what I produce never even reaches paper.

    • Smogranch says:

      Tim,
      There are potentially several reason for that. One, you have to calibrate your monitor. Second, you are looking at one color space on your monitor and chances are another on your output device. It is impossible to repro what you see on an Apple monitor, at least when it comes to hitting a piece of paper. So, you have to learn to prep for print, and going to your inkjet printer will required one method and going out to Blurb will require another. Once you figure this out…you are golden. Blurb has a great color management page on their site!

  8. Reiner says:

    This space is becoming one of the few places where we can find the core of the art called photography. Let’s not forget the “graphy”; Todd is areal example to me of this last part of the word.
    Thank you very much Dan for supporting this.

  9. Kristin says:

    so many aspects of him and his work are striking to me. Considering photographic projects in general and personally. I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately about why take pictures, why bother, especially with so many people constantly taking pictures and he clearly stated why he does it and why he is attracted and is aware of his influence as well. I want to feel clear like that. Is it necessary to feel that clearly about a project to create work? I don’t know but if the answer is there, the knowing is there, the drive is clear and you can see it in his images. He’s not just taking it to take it. I think that shows a maturity I would like and is lacking in most work and your quote:

    “That is a GREAT point. A lot of work is done today to gain audience, win friends, influence people. It’s incredible to me how many people value things like “likes” on FB when it comes to their photography. I think this is an example of cyberspace photographers. I think the real photogs, those on Earth who work in the real photography world, create the work they feel they need to create. Period.”

    is so striking to me, I’ve gotten caught up in the fb world and I’m aware of it but yet once in the midst of it, it is easy to get lost. I’d like to find my way out and back to my vision. the question now is how to share, where to share, and how important sharing work is and how it affects the work. A lot to think about for me. Confusing but important! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Smogranch says:

      Kristin,
      Take pictures because you want to or feel the need to do so. Artists make work anyway they can. Facebook isn’t real, at least in terms of being a good sounding board. If you are attempting to gain audience with social media you have to realize that much of it is based on the quiet lie of being liked, which is most cases requires someone to at least partially fabricate their identity.
      If you want to find your way out just turn it off and don’t look back. Instead, go spend the time writing, photographing or making other kinds of work.

  10. Garry says:

    I’ve heard great things about Pier 24. I realy like the scale and how Todd’s pictures are presentated in this show. It has the closeness of walking down an suburban street.

    I still keep thinking Todd Hido is Japanese. Must be that last name.

    • Smogranch says:

      Garry,
      I never know how to pronounce his name. I get HIdo and HEEDO. I just slur it somewhere in the middle. He’s a cool guy and fun person to learn from.

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