Todd Hido guides us into the depths of America and its endless stretches of identical suburbs, which linger somewhere between the sterilized buildings of Edward Hopper and the impenetrable communities of David Lynch. The American photographer compiled this strange, hazy journey through the heart of suburbia while driving aimlessly around his native Kent, encountering only the occasional person or landscape. There are drab façades and empty spaces, studded with large chauffeured cars with blacked-out windows. In an electric fog created through very long exposures, the light sculpts objects and dulls people’s outlines. Nothing much happens: houses doze under the weight of their own uniformity, while inside, their inhabitants kill time by lounging on the carpet and posing for the camera. Even nature seems bored to death: colourless landscapes appear content to frame roads that lead to nowhere.
The result is a strange, muffled collection; portraits of women rub shoulders with road vistas, the images are sometimes steeped in the same blueish or reddish light, as if to encourage us to link them in a kind of narrative. And so we’re never quite sure where Hido is trying to lead us – whether we should marvel at the sleepy banality, or whether the photographer is striving to capture a sense of menace. His almost otherworldly universe unfolds mile after mile: all those drowsy doll’s houses could be cosy homes, but they could just as easily be menacing hideouts straight out of a film noir. It’s through this uncertainty – at once poetic, cinematographic and almost supernatural – that Todd Hido’s photos achieve their delicious mystery.