Photobooks of 2020: Todd Hido

Dorothea Lange & Sam Contis

Ciprian Honey Cathedral by Raymond Meeks, Mack

I have loved Ray’s work for many, many years. I would say that this book is an incredible series of beautiful formal investigations that are anything but formal; they are in fact some of the most intimate and tender pictures and they are a gift to us. 

Santa Barbara by Diana Markosian, Aperture

Santa Barbara by Diana Markosian is a fascinating discovery that I will happily place alongside other books on my shelf that are about the subject of the family. Markosian’s family life is recounted through using staged scenes and actors and it evokes a noir-like cinematic tale that seems to be very rooted in the truth. There is a beautiful empathy in her portraiture.

Knit Club by Carolyn Drake, TBW Books

Knit Club by Carolyn Drake is a wonderful puzzle of pictures that together as a whole strikes one of my favorite feelings when looking at photographs - The work is ambiguous which is one of my favorite things to find in a group of pictures because it really doesn’t just show you something, it sets your mind to wander freely.

The New Woman Behind the Camera by Andrea Nelson, National Gallery of Art

The New Woman Behind the Camera is an antholgy of many of my favorite photographer and introduces me to several other artists that I hadn’t previously known.

Day Sleeper by Dorothea Lange & Sam Contis, Mack

Of all the books I acquired in 2020, Day Sleeper by Dorothea Lange and Sam Contis, is one that I keep going back to and looking at several times. Each viewing brings out certain pictures that feel so fresh and interesting. I would attribute this to being a really curious photographer herself, Contis helped bring forth what Lange had expressed at the end of her life — her wish to "photograph constantly, every hour…and assemble a record of everything to which I have had a direct response.”Lange also mentions that this would become a complete visual diary. One of the things I find most interesting is that the book fluctuates back and forth from Lange’s documentary mode that we have all seen before. But the real standouts in this book are the intimate images of Lange’s family and friends. The combination is riveting. 

Todd Hido (born in Kent, Ohio, 1968) wanders endlessly, taking lengthy road trips in search of imagery that connects with his own memories. Through his unique landscape process and signature color palette, Hido alludes to the quiet and mysterious side of suburban America—where uniform communities provide for a stable façade—implying the instability that often lies behind the walls. His photographs are in many private and public collections, including the Getty, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Notably, Pier 24 Photography holds the archive of all his published works. He has published more than a dozen books, including the award-winning monographs by Nazraeli Press, House Hunting (2001) and Excerpts from Silver Meadows (2013), as well as the innovative B-Sides Box Set that function as a companion piece. His Aperture titles include Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude (2014), part of The Photography Workshop series, and the mid-career survey Intimate Distance: Twenty-Five Years of Photographs, A Chronological Album (2016). His latest book, Bright Black World, was released by Nazraeli in the Fall of 2018. Hido is also a collector, and over the last twenty-five years has created one of the most notable photobook collections, which was featured in Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books (2019).

Images: top - Day Sleeper by Dorathea Lange & Sam Contis, below - Santa Barbara by Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian