Todd Hido at Columbia

Todd Hido at Columbia

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Our visiting artist lecture series is back in full-swing this semester beginning with Todd Hido.

Hido gave the standard Thursday evening lecture. This time, however, he was fairly off- the-cuff and went on for two hours. The lecture, while providing some interesting insights, was too long for me. This was the first time I have ever left a lecture. It was partly disappointing to me because I was hoping for more of a reason, or at least more of an explanation of the images. When someone plays off their work as they simply make images because they want to, it is always a little demystifying to me. I feel that attitude takes away from the images.

I also had wished that there was a more in-depth explanation regarding his use of women in his work. There wasn’t. And what there was was again demystifying.

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Todd came into seminar on Friday to take a look at the graduate work. Usually, there is a sign-up sheet where students sign up to have their work reviewed by the visiting artist.The number of students that are able to have their work reviewed is limited to 5 in that format, but for this semester, Ross and Myra, the two instructors running seminar, have decided to change things. Instead of the number of students being limited to 5, they encouraged everyone to come with some recent work and hang it, then allow Todd to decide where he wanted to go with the critique.

I wasn’t sure how that format would work. Todd didn’t want to play favorites (although I think that was kind of the point to the new system) and he instead chose to talk a little bit about everyone’s work. It was quite generous, and it ended up being a nice system to work with. I didn’t feel obligated to sit and talk about work for 30-45 min, which is the normal case. It always feels forced, but this felt really nice and open.

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This semester I am also part of a pod (a new type of learning and experimental environment) that is creating the second version of the photography department’s app Frank, which is a digital magazine that focuses on issues around photography. One of the issues we wanted to shed some light on was the use of women in Hido’s work. We contacted his rep and got permission to interview him after the crit. Myself and two of the others were present for the interview. Norah conducted the interview, Rudy shot video, and I photographed. The interview went really well, and was actually much more enlightening than the talk was. We all left quite happy. The next issue of Frank, with the included interview will be issued in early May.