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 and inspirations."
I've written about other books in the excellent witness series of curated artist books before - here and here for example.