“Untitled #2312-a, 1999”
The image “Untitled #2312-a, 1999” from the series Houses at Night is one of the few images without a visible illumination coming from the house. A beam of light cuts the front of the house but no light comes from the inside. In every house you have photographed the human presence is implied. The quality of the light is also the quality of the their presence. Thanks to this perception, you are able to establish a relationship between the viewer and the image, as a personal relationship. Could you explain something more about this particular choice? How important is it for your work to show inhabited houses with human beings’ presence instead of empty houses?
“You are very perceptive.
Yes, that is the only house at night that does not have a light on the window.
I chose that particular one because it was actually a place that a lot of my ideas about home and loss and longing came to fruition.
That photograph is the only exterior photograph that is taken of a home that is been abandoned. It was taken in the Love Canal, New York.
I used to live in Boston when I went to the Boston Museum school and I would drive from there to Ohio for holidays and visits to my parent’s house.
I had always heard of that neighborhood and so I decided to get off the turnpike and go find it one day.
What I found was really remarkable to me as it was a neighborhood that had simply been walked away from my many of its inhabitants.
Not all of them. But most of them.
I find that house I shot to be particularly lonely and it was shot on a Blue Moon in the fall that can be seen behind the clouds and that’s where a lot of the light comes from.
That neighborhood was so spooky to me I can’t really even explain what it was like to stand there. You felt like you were being watched. But there was no one there except for just a few homes where people were holdouts.”
This neighborhood is just a half mile away from my home. Dylan and I went to see Todd Hido speak at RIT a few years ago while we were still in college, this is where I first learned one of his images was from Love Canal. I was facinated by his choice, I went to speak with him after his lecture was over and I remember the look at his face when I told him my connection to this place. We had a connection for a moment, incredible. I felt like he wanted to talk about this unique space a bit more, but there were a line of students behind me and we never got the chance. Who knows, maybe he thought I was one of the freaks that stayed behind. I have been looking for this particular image for a few years but couldn’t track it down. Thank YOU, Dylan.