1958 Kodachrome : Interpreted Whit Todd

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1958 Kodachrome : Interpreted

Kodachrome slides taken during a trip to Mexico in 1958 are interpreted through drawings and watercolors 57 years later by the photographer’s grandson.


link to his grandmother

Lydia Beede Todd was born on April 9th, 1904. After high school she went to the University of Oklahoma wanting to become an architect. At enrollment she was told that a woman couldn’t become an architect. She instead enrolled in the art department and became an artist.

Whit Todd was born in 1961. After high school he enrolled at Oklahoma State University wanting to become an artist. He was told that artists don’t make much money. He instead enrolled in the architecture program and became an architect.

Thirty years later, as an architect, he realized he’s always been attracted to light, and the shadows created. The way the sun creates interesting shadows on a building, or the way a tree casts its shadow on a wall…it’s always been about the light, and the shadows. In his art, he’s had an attraction to the light and the changing affect the sun has on the environment. In his world, art and architecture aren’t separated passions. The light is what he’s attracted to.



On vacation in 1958 Whit’s grandparents drove through Mexico and took Kodachrome slides documenting the sites and people they encountered. His grandmother made most of the slides, for she is not in any of the images – while his grandfather is in a handful. His grandfather and grandmother passed away in 1966 and 1974 but the slides from their trip remain and ended up stored in a metal box that found its way to Whit.

Whit’s been studying the slides – wondering what attracted his grandmother to record what was in each slide. What did she see and what did she want to record – with each slide Whit wonders what caught her eye and which slides were made with the thought of a future painting. Was she attracted to the same visual eye candy that Whit is drawn to?


artist statement

These are my interpretations of my grandmother’s Kodachrome images from her trip to Mexico in 1958. Hoping to make a connection with my grandmother – through art – I chose several slides to be the inspiration behind my drawings and watercolors. As I created each work, I’ve been able to dig deeper into what might have been the compelling feature that motivated her to make each slide.

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biography – whit todd

Whit showed an early interest in art. He was greatly influenced by his grandmother, Lydia Beede Todd, a Tulsa artist. She provided Whit with early  encouragement, a few art lessons, and his first set of professional (tube) watercolors. Lewis Meyer was a Tulsa bookstore owner that hosted an early Sunday morning television show in which he presented book reviews. One Sunday morning in 1982 he reviewed Christina’s World, a book about Andrew Wyeth written by Wyeth’s wife, Betsy. Whit was memorized by both Meyer’s lyrical descriptions of the artwork along with the beautiful images within the book. The book became a Christmas fit, given to Whit by his mother. That book began Whit’s lifetime fascination with Andrew Wyeth and Is now well worn but still well read.


studied under:

lydia beede todd – watercolor

kathryn phelps – pastels, oils and watercolor

george kountoupis – watercolor

bill hart – watercolor

alvaro castagnet – watercolor

frank webb – watercolor


inspired by:

andrew wyeth

winslow homer

ed whitney

john singer sargent



bachelor of architectural studies               1984    oklahoma state university

master of Architecture                               1985    oklahoma state university

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