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United States, 1970-1975

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  159 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This 304 page book contains dozens of color and black and white photos taken between 1971-1976 when Jacob Holdt travelled more than 100,000 miles across America living as a vagabond and capturing on film the people with whom he came into contact, including more than 350 families in 48 states, most of whom were poverty stricken black Americans.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Steidl & Folkwang Museum, Essen (first published 1977)
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Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There. That's my summary of this book. Some of you may be more familiar with the book in its American incarnation, "American Pictures."

I am not always in agreement with Holdt and his, admittedly, socialist interpretation of things but that doesn't matter. This is a pictorial and written journey through a backside of American Life that cannot help but fascinate and, in a grim way, attract. It is not a matter of agreeing, but seeing things through Holdt's eyes, and I for one am very appr
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early seventies, a danish vagabond hippie with a short hair-cut-wig traveled around the United States, Canada and beyond looking at what was going on. His parents soon sent him a camera--after hearing his reports of poverty, starvation, continuing slavery and the "system"--because they didn't believe him. He ended up taking over 15,000 pictures, and living on the road for many years, never taking a job, always hitchiking and staying with those he met.
At the end of the forward he states ".
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
American socio-economic class struggle redefined. Contrasts of uber-rich to poorer than poor. Genius.
I started this book after attending one of the author’s presentations in 1980, but never finished it, as my Danish was not up to the task of reading 300 pages. So, I am completing it now.

JH's criticism about the inherent racism of liberal society’s focus on adjusting people to unjust circumstances, rather than combatting the injustice, is very true. The section on life in New York during the 70s and, especially, the photographs, wonderfully convey the atmosphere of imminent threat and denial in
AMERICAN PICTURES chronicles Danish vagabond Jacob Holdt who journeyed through America's poverty and hypocrisy. The title of the book references the most striking part of the book, hundreds and hundreds of photographs chronicling the hundreds of lives he was invited into as he crisscrossed early to mid 1970's America. Despite his not having an experienced eye, many of the photos are quite beautiful in their execution but the power comes from the content. Images of ghetto street life that catch m ...more
The Art Book Review
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
"American Pictures" is a wild book that’s all shock and awe and freakshow...the book is a fucked-up wacky look at America by a guy who makes a habit of jumping into bed with his subjects and hanging out at cross burnings with the Ku Klux Klan. The dude has love and respect for all people, in a Jesus kind of way, and he wears a beard braided down to his belly button in order to let everyone know that he’s a weirdo too. -- Lisa Anne Auerbach on "American Pictures"

Read Lisa Anne Auerbach's full re
Aug 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I have the hardcover and bought it in 1986 when Jacob Holdt came to the University of Texas with it. VERY MOVING at the time and eye opening to the class issues in the USA. Ah, America. Interesting look at us from an foreigners point of view.

See Amazon reviews :
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, photography
Amazing, depressing and important!
Fascinating visual tour of family homes in different socio-economic groups, contrasting extreme affluence/poverty disparity in the US.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
actually, think i wanna give it a 3.5 - the pictures and prose are a little rambling and didactic. nice book, but i prefer the Steidl reprint that focuses on the photographs.
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Jacob Holdt is a Danish photographer, writer and lecturer. His mammoth work, American Pictures, gained international fame in 1977 for its effective photographic revelations about the hardships of America's lower classes.
More about Jacob Holdt...