A Road Divided, Photographs by Todd Hido
Nazraeli Press, Portland, 2010.
64 pages, 28 color illustrations, 14×17″.

It is a curious way to open a book: “…It is just as probable that I have also written the one–or two–best books I shall ever write. They are done with. That is how things go. And it is most unlikely that a second burst of inspiration will alter this irreversible fact…This is where the rest of life begins….”

Nevertheless, this is the epigraph that introduces Todd Hido’s latest monograph A Road Divided. Baudrillard’s words might suggest decline–a fall from greatness. In the case of A Road Divided it is just the opposite. Rather, it is as though we are invited to witness to a grande beginning. Hido’s monographs are often celebrated for their elegant design and the beautiful yet understated aesthetic that Nazraeli Press books are known for. Not only did they put out this most recent monograph, Nazraeli also published Hido’s 2004 series, Roaming. Years later, A Road Divided is a continuation or extension of the photographer’s earlier landscape work.

In this book, Hido returns to the aimless roads and empty terrains captured earlier in his career. The attenuated, windswept forms appear accented by a painter’s brush. This effect is achieved by ingenious use of the blurry, rain-streaked ‘lens’ of the artist’s car window. The monotone palette of each image serves to gather a wide spectrum of feelings and memories into each resounding image. We recall Emily Dickinson’s stark words: “Nature is a haunted house–but Art–is a house that tries to be haunted.”

Perhaps that is the difference between Hido’s past work and A Road Divided. The latter is an expansion, an avid embrace of life itself. It does not try, but truly haunts. Not only does A Road Divided feel more considered in terms of image sequencing, the photographs themselves possess a poignancy that registers on a higher level. As an object, the book is truly beautiful. We at PIP encourage you to ride shotgun with Hido, and take a ride.

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