Suburbia Through The Photographer's Lens

Suburbia Through The Photographer's Lens

Catrin Morris
Jul 28, 2011

In researching for our posts about American suburban ranch houses and interior design in the 1970s, I delved headlong into the world of suburban utopias--and dystopias. The American suburban dream is rife with paradox (community vs. isolation; the dream of ownership vs. the tragedy of foreclosure; the promise of space vs. the domination and destruction of that space, and so on).

It is easy to mock and belittle suburbia but it takes a lot of skill to approach these themes with a critical but compassionate eye. These photographers, in my mind, succeed. And my own personal dream is to be able to get my hands on one of these photographs to hang in my own home.

Shown above:

1 & 2 Carolyn Drake. Carolyn Drake is an award-winning documentary photographer whose work has been supported through grants from the Fulbright Scholar Program and National Geographic and honored by UNICEF and the National Press Photographers Association. She is now based in Istanbul, Turkey but grew up in Greenbelt, Maryland. For purchasing information contact Carolyn at

3 Christopher Gielen Christopher Gielen's photography "probes quality-of-life standards in the context of urban growth and development." Many of his photos, like this one, are taken from helicopters, and often at night. Gielen grew up in Germany and lives and works in New York City and in Bonn. For more information, contact Daniel Cooney Fine Art.

4 Todd Hido. Hido's photographs, taken at night, depict "anonymous suburban dwellings with their windows glowing in the soft darkness...Throughout these color images there is an unsettling feeling of isolation and unease. Hido captures a haunting suburbia through the absence of people and the careful modulation of light and color." Hido's first book, House Hunting was recently published by Nazraeli Press. Available through various galleries, including the Bruce Silverstein gallery (212) 627-3930 or through the Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco

5 Gerald Edwards III // mentored under Gregory Crewdson for many years. His work deals with "the reconstruction and fabrication of histories" through composited large-format photos.

Images: as linked above

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