In 2010 I experienced Jacob Holdt at a talk in Denmark. He is a passionate photographer and writer. For 5 years he was hitchhiking through USA (1970-1975). He came back years later to see the same people again. On his journey and life as a vagabond in USA he made new relations, experienced things we barely can imagine, and was close to death. Many of these things he managed to capture in photos.
At the talk he showed us these “heavy” photos combined with detailed stories connected to the persons and situations we saw in the photos. He visited and made relations to both rich and poor which gave a fuller picture of the people of USA. With the pictures and stories he played us some music. Music about slaves, about the rough life in Harlem and other social realistic topics which made the experience complete.
The keywords for the talk was oppression and racism. He wanted us to feel the oppression deep into our bones. He succeeded, I walked away at the end of the talk, crying and with my mind loaded with heavy thoughts.
This might sound like an unpleasant experience, and in some ways it was, but the outcome was positive. It made me more aware of myself and my thoughts about racism. At the end of the talk I was richer then when I came, and I would recommend others to go the this talk if they get the opportunity.
At the end of the show he invited people to come with him on his next journey to USA. This just makes him an even bigger inspiration in my eyes. Jacob Holt is truly an open and authentic person.
These are some of Jacob Holt’s pictures. They are collected into a book called American Picture. Every single picture is strong and sends your thoughts onto a journey with a lot of questions.