Witness No. 7.
Photographs by Todd Hido.
Nazraeli Press, Portland, 2009. 96 pp., 76 illustrations., 9½x12".
As guest editor of Witness Number 7, Todd Hido creates a
relationship between his own photographs of vacant interiors of
foreclosed homes – the first time this series has been published
as a group – with portraits made by Leon Borensztein during the
1980s. Hido’s images contain traces and impressions of lives previously
having been lived in the now-empty homes. His potent
and surreal photographs of empty spaces evoke a longing for the
time when things were better in those homes. What went wrong?
Who used to lived there? Borensztein, an immigrant from
Poland, visited homes and businesses in the suburbs of Stockton,
Fresno and Bakersfield, photographing his subjects in front of
a generic backdrop to create a rich sociological document. In
Witness Number 7, Borensztein’s subjects stand in metaphorically
for the families evicted from Hido’s foreclosed homes. The
book closes with what Hido describes as “a slowly cooked stew
of books” – a forty-page run of images documented off the pages
of certain books in his library that have influenced Hido’s work
during the past twenty years, curated into a narrative of echos
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