THE RECENT VINTAGE OF most California houses doesn’t make them particularly promising settings for ghost stories. But Todd Hido, a photographer just starting to make his presence known in the Bay Area, manages to elicit the shivers associated with haunted houses in his large color photographs. In a series he calls “House Hunting,” Hido has photographed the insides of empty, tract-style homes and the outsides of similar houses whose glowing windowpanes signal their habitation. (“Hunting” evokes “haunting,” of course, and it further connotes the predatory trespass of the photographer’s gaze.) Seldom has suburbia looked spookier or more forlorn.

The houses in Hido’s outdoor shots seem to glow in the dark. While the bright light that shines through the windows gives some indication that these structures are lived in, one can also sense their gloomy desolation. Isolated in the frame, almost like

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