Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First is nowhere

In 1971, Jacob Holdt, a 24-year-old Dane, entered the US with $40 in his pocket and bummed around on his way to a holiday in South America. Shocked by the poverty, racism and desperate circumstances he found around him, he began living as a "vagabond" amongst the people he met. His parents sent him a cheap camera and for five years he sold his blood plasma to get the money to buy film as he hitch-hiked over 100,000 miles up and down the poverty-stricken reality of Nixon's America. Needless to say, the pictures and stories that he gathered then, and since, make up an extraordinary, epic read which, typically enough, he has put up online in its entirety. A beautiful voice of conscience, he serves as a stringent reminder of the horror of the real, unromanticised ghetto and also as a gentle but penetrating lesson to people, like myself, much fallen amongst cynicism and laziness and fear.