Although David Husom documents a variety of subjects, he is best known for his photographs of fairground architecture in his home state, Minnesota, and its neighboring High Plains states. Following the seasons, fairs celebrate farming, an integral part of Minnesota life. He photographs these monuments to the agricultural tradition in the off-season, when they are closed. "For many rural towns the fair is the event of the year," he has said, "yet fairgrounds are generally built to be used for only those few days each year." He records the fairgrounds using a consistent method, capturing the exterior from a more or less uniform distance. Husom has cited several influences to his approach to this series, "Fairgrounds" (1978-97), including German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, known for their typological studies of industrial structures--such as furnaces and water towers--which they began in the late 1960s. "Fairgrounds" similarly focuses on utilitarian constructions within one building type in which the similiarites and variations play off one-another.
Husom has produced other photographic series: In 1982 with photographer Ann-Marie Rose, Husom created "Postcard Journal," a photographic and written record of a trip around the world; "Tokyo 2000" (2000) visually explores different aspects of Japanese culture, such as the sushi industry, street life, and daily work preparations for the new millennium celebrations; and "Rivertowns" (2001-ongoing) looks at the places where communities gather--churches, taverns, town halls--in the Upper Mississippi River valley.
Husom earned a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in photography and film from the University of Minnesota in 1970 and 1973 respectively. He has taught photography and new media at his alma mater since the late 1970s.