Concealed Narratives

Concealed Narratives

In Norse mythology, Filmbulwinter is a harsh, never-ending season of extreme weather that precedes the end of the world. Drawing on this notion, a forthcoming publication by Nazraeli Press and exhibition of works by photographer Todd Hido (b. 1968) at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, entitled Bright Black World, looks to the darkness of Northern Europe for inspiration.

Hido is known for a body of work capturing the mystery of American suburbia, and so the collection – which was made predominantly outside of the US – marks a point of departure for Hido. Despite this, the collection conveys a signature sense of secrecy and anonymity, steeped in Iceland’s enduring shadow.

The enigmatic works span both portraiture and landscape, investigating the inner and exterior worlds of the region and its inhabitants. In one image, a singular lamplight illuminates an obscured body of water. In another, the face of an unidentified subject remains hidden. Dark, tumultuous clouds move above a black sea whilst a hazy sun sets above an overgrown forest.

Each piece conveys a sense of foreboding and isolation, using both artificial and natural light sources to offer a cinematic atmosphere. The landscapes – notably devoid of human presence – imply concealed narratives, drawing the viewer into unfamiliar yet intensely curious worlds. Capturing the tension of an event waiting to happen, they inspire imaginations through subtle storytelling.

Bright Black World evokes the same melancholy Hido’s Homes at Night, which is featured in Aesthetica Issue 62. In this earlier series, American dwellings are depicted as are glowing in the darkness. In a similar way, lamp posts and the light shining from the windows, highlight isolated apartments and houses, drawing the attention of the viewer to the existence of life behind closed curtains.

The exhibition opens 13 September. Find out more here.

1. Todd Hido, #11797-3252, 2017.
2. Todd Hido, #2154, 1996-2014.
3. Todd Hido, #11798-4172, 2017.