Thursday, August 5, 2010
There are thousands out there. American roads and their landscapes can ache with emptiness and whisper with their stories. One could imagine that the stories have somehow soaked into the ground to live there, residing like a memory, distant yet always near the surface. Color perhaps is then like their moods, moods that shift in shape with the elements. Perhaps the elements wear the roads down over time, beating on them and leaving marks, like the forceful experiences in ones own life.
It would follow then that the roads and the landscape, the divisions and the elements and the harshness are some sort of visual equivalent to the divisions that can reside within one's own self. The empty roads then an accidental or symbolic ode to loneliness, to the type of "empty" that can leave some folks in a permanent state of internal isolation.
I suppose that the dark roads and their ruts, the grays and the shadows are like the rough circumstances that start somewhere early on in a life, even as a child. Some are simply born into this roughness, from circumstance. Perhaps it is even circumstance that bores itself in to you in the form of actions and choices that slowly unfold. Either way, the roads carry a story and your internal stories are then your roads.
With A Road Divided, Nazraeli Press (2010), Todd Hido has taken the American road and its landscapes, its stories of isolation and carefully made them conform to his will. The book, beautiful and large feels natural as if these physical places and these moments in time exist to fulfill the urges within Hido, to express his "need" and his "feeling". In the textures, both grotesque and beautiful... in the obscured vision, in the ice, in the lunar like emptiness, in the rain and in the sleet... the aesthetics act as metaphor and story for emptiness itself, for sorrow, for separation... for isolation.
This is the type of work that emanates from personal and sometimes difficult place... it is crafted from the psyche, it is the psyche... perhaps even more fitting, it is the "landscape of the psyche". It is from these places that this work needs to come... from here that the work needs to persist. One can't escape themselves, one cannot escape their circumstances... one cannot and perhaps should not escape their urges, their compulsions... their need to act. You can't really get away from what it is that drives you for it is in you, it is you. It needs to come from this place and in Todd's case, it does.
While this body of work and book is a continuation or extension of his earlier landscape work (published in the monograph, Roaming, Nazraeli Press (2004), in my feeling, it is a an expansion...
A book contains the summary of ten thousand decisions. It is in these decisions that the physical object is made and in these decisions its essence contained. Hido's decisions have shown themselves to be very reliable. If one can rely on their decisions to make the right "choice", exceptional work cannot help but follow.
A Road Divided. Photographs by Todd Hido. Nazraeli Press, Portland, 2010. 64 pp., 28 color illustrations, 14x17".
Posted by Harvey's Blog at 10:19 AM