Todd Diederich Lives in Darkness

The Chicago photographer doesn’t have a home, a room, or even a bed. But his nighttime images have a new show at Johalla Projects, ‘Luminous Flux,’ opening tomorrow.

photograph: todd diederich
 

Todd Diederich spends a lot of time in the dark. From his studio in the basement of an old Chicago funeral home to his late-night bike rides, Diederich finds comfort in the shadows.

“There’s a lot of darkness in the way I live my life right now,” says Diederich. Dark and nomadic, it’s been a few months since the Brookfield native has had a home, a room, or even a bed. “I don’t really have anything. So it makes sense to go into the shadows.” His latest show, Luminous Flux (opening tomorrow at Johalla Projects) explores just that.

“My 2013 personal magic is playing with the darkness,” he says. “It all revolves around the dark side. But it’s neither evil nor good, it’s just the dark side of life.” Nearly every photo that appears in Luminous Flux was taken at night. It’s a sharp contrast to Diederich’s last show We at Acre gallery in 2011, which was a series drenched in light and a celebration of “freedom.”  

Diederich has spent the last few years trolling Chicago’s streets after most of the city has gone to sleep. He and I both immersed ourselves in Chicago’s underground ballroom scene and the queer homeless youth community, two worlds that come to life at night.

But these days, Diederich is more interested in turning his lens inwards. “This show is really me playing in the shadows. I really just want to find what’s electric about my own darkness.”

Catch Luminous Flux through April 28 at Johalla Projects, 1821 West Hubbard Street Suite 209, Chicago.

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