Jacob Holdt (b. 1947, Denmark) changed the cause of photography without being aware of it. He invented a practice situated at the intersection between documentary and artistic photography, a practice characterized by a strong sense of visuality, an awe inspiring humanity, but also a keen sense of sociopolitical awareness.
Jacob Holdt gained fame for his mammoth work, American Pictures in 1977 - An American odyssey that was created over 5 years and from more than 15.000 photographs taken with a cheap pocket camera. Arriving in the States with only $40 in his pocket, Jacob Holdt was shocked and fascinated by the social differences he encountered. He ended up staying in the USA more than five years, crisscrossing the country by hitchhiking more than 100,000 miles and recording his impressions on film. He sold blood plasma twice a week to buy film. He stayed in more than 400 homes - from the poorest migrant workers to America's wealthiest families (for instance, the Rockefellers). He would live with people who were so hungry they ate cat food and garbage, often in rat-infested shacks. His work captures the daily struggle of the American underclass and contrasts it with images of the life of America's elite. During the last 5 years thousands of negatives from Holdt’s extensive archive have been rescanned and for the exhibition, we have made a small curation and juxtaposition of works from the first edition of American Pictures and new works that have never been displayed publicly before. Jacob Holdt’s work has an exceptional art historical significance. He has inspired young artists all over the world and documented a recent period in American history through a unique perspective. Holdt still travels in America and keep coming back to the same people that he visited in 1970 (many are now dead). American Pictures is in now published in its 14 edition in Danish (An English edition is also available). In the light of some of the key issues and challenges facing humanity today, Jacob Holdt’s work seems very relevant and important. Even Avant-garde.
American Pictures By Jacob Holdt
At Bad News at Black Bear Bar
Opening Reception Saturday 08.03.2013
From 7.PM – 10.PM
Black Bear Bar. 70 N 6th St (btwn Wythe & Kent Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11249.
Additional at V1 Gallery