Untitled (From American Pictures)

About Jacob Holdt

Photographer Jacob Holdt is renowned for his series “American Pictures,” in which he documented his odyssey across the United States, hitchhiking and sleeping in more than 400 homes—ranging from the extremely poor to the very wealthy—over the course of five years. Upon arriving in the United States from Denmark in the 1970s, Holdt was struck by the stratification between rich and poor: “When you grow up in Europe, America is a land of fantasy—swimming pools everywhere, Dallas and Dynasty… Europeans come to New York and say ‘wow, this is like entering the third world.’ People are laying all over in the streets, panhandlers, beggars everywhere.” Shot on a cheap pocket camera, Holdt’s images illustrate the gulf in lifestyle between the elite and the indigent. Rather than using a purely documentary style, he leans toward the expressionistic in these photographs, emphasizing the subjectivity of his and his subjects’ experiences.

Danish , b. 1947

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