Jacob Holdt

 

Contemporary Photographers

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“Arriving in America with only $40 for a short visit, a young Dane, Jacob Holdt ended up staying over five years, hitchhiking more than 100,000 miles throughout the USA. He sold blood plasma twice weekly to be able to buy film. He lived in more than 400 homes - from the poorest migrant workers to America’s wealthiest families such as the Rockefellers. They not only gave him hospitality and warmth, but their continuing friendship to this day. He joined the Indian rebellion in Wounded Knee, followed criminals in the ghettos during muggings, sneaked inside to work in Southern slave camps and infiltrated secret Ku Klux Klan meetings as well as Republican presidential campaign headquarters.” (source)

I first came across an announcement of a show of this work. When I then found the website, I was a bit put off by the the way the work is presented (just like on the channel that invented the phrase nothing “fair and balanced” there). But then I was glad to have looked at some of the photos. There’s a very large number of excellent photos, and many of them come with snippets like, for example, “For a long time I hung out with pushers and criminals in a ghetto I lived in - perhaps being one myself? During our various activities they let me photograph almost without limits. Thus I was nearly shut down by cops with drawn guns when they mistook my flash light for a gun shot.”