United States 1970 - 1975
In the early 1970s, when Jacob Holdt first arrived in the US with 40 dollars in his pocket, he planned to travel quickly across the country to South America. But, totally shocked and fascinated by what he discovered, he ended up staying five years. His family could scarcely believe the letters he sent them detailing the poverty he saw, so his father sent him a cheap amateur camera in order that Holdt could send home proof of his claims. Living as a vagabond, selling his blood twice a week, hitch-hiking over 100,000 miles, he depicted an incredible and unique portrait of America and its underclass. He befriended whomever offered him a lift in their car and a lift frequently became an offer to stay a few days. He never said no and ended up visiting more than 350 homes where he photographed the people he lived with: poor blacks from the ghettos, millionaires, junkies, members of the Ku Klux Klan. Holdt's images echo the pictures of the F.S.A. and together with the work of another Dane Jacob Riis, his series have widely inspired the filmmaker Lars von Trier for the movies Dogville and Manderlay.