CMA Stories

“Light coming through windows is the signal that there is human presence” — 5 Minutes With Artist Todd Hido

Drawing from childhood memories, Todd Hido takes long road trips in search of imagery that connects with his own recollections. In Home Sweet Home: Is a Home a Sanctuary?, Hido frames his images through the vantage point of a car, using the windshield as an additional lens. Through this unique process and signature color palette, Hido alludes to the quiet and mysterious side of suburban America. Read below to learn more about Todd!

In your own words, what does “home” mean to you?

A warm, secure place to relax.

There is a romanticized mythology in American culture about “hitting the road,” which has inspired artists and writers for generations. Often these works explore literal or metaphorical “new lands” or escaping one’s home or life in some way. In your photographs — shot from within your car — you use the road as a way to artistically revisit the places you called home growing up. How does this tie into your ideas about what home means to you, as an artist and/or as a father?

You are right that I have used the road as a way to go back home, and I think the reason that it works is because where I live and work is entirely different from where my home used to be. Somehow or another it becomes this exotic thing to travel somewhere that is so familiar.

You have said that the words of writer Raymond Carver are steady influences in your work, and that his writing makes you see images. Can you give us an example of a passage of his that inspired your work?

See The Phone Booth

Spectral lighting seen through windows — from within and without — is one of the most prominent details in your photographs. What grabs your attention about light coming through windows?

I think that light coming through windows to me is the signal that there is human presence. I often shoot into the light even when I am doing landscapes — there is something about the layers that are created with the refractions that occur and the dramatic difference between highlight and shadow.

Home Sweet Home: Is a Home a Sanctuary? is on view until May 3, 2020 in the Cynthia C. Wainwright Gallery at Children’s Museum of the Arts.

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