Photo Book Review: Todd Hido, Intimate Distance

HidoThis stunning book collects twenty-five years of photos by Todd Hido, presented chronologically. Hido is known for his curious photos of suburban houses and his otherworldly landscapes, and both of those types of photos are well represented in this book. There are also a number of interiors, portraits, and nudes, which have a very noticeable style. (, Amazon UK)

The book cover shows an example of one type of Hido’s photos: nighttime, long exposure photos of suburban houses. At first glance, this looks banal, but as you see more of the photos, you start to get an understanding of the intention behind these photos. “I want my photographs to make people wonder about what’s going on,” Hido says in an interesting book about his photography. (Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude (, Amazon UK)) The suburban house photos present this odd veneer of ambiguity. Most of the houses have one or more rooms lit up, and there is often fog, channeling the street lamps and highlighting certain areas of the photos. The colors often look askew, and the lack of human presence in the photos – though it’s obvious that people are in the houses – creates a certain distance.


The landscapes are intentionally vague. Often shot through the windshield of his car – dirty, covered with rain or snow – many of them look out of focus and grungy. But that makes these photos look more distant from their subjects; there’s a sort of filter between the viewer and the landscape, that makes some of them look almost abstract.


The portraits and nudes don’t show beautiful models, but rather real people, looking vulnerable and honest, often shot in hotel rooms, and without any trickery. Natural light, little or no makeup, no “bokeh,” these portraits go against everything that is considered standard practice for portraits today.


Hido’s work is unique, and this collection opens the door to a photographer who has developed styles with the different types of photos he shoots. This is the kind of photo book that will make you look differently at the world around you.