Arriving in America with only $40 for a short visit, a young Dane, Jacob
Holdt ended up staying over five years, hitchhiking more than
miles throughout the USA.
He sold blood plasma twice
weekly to be able to buy film. He lived in more than
homes - from the poorest migrant workers to America's wealthiest families
such as the Rockefellers. They not only gave him a hospitality and warmth,
but their continuing friendship to this day.
He joined the Indian rebellion
in Wounded Knee, followed criminals in the ghettos during muggings, sneaked
inside to work in Southern slave camps and infiltrated secret Ku Klux
Klan meetings as well as Republican presidential campaign headquarters.
Working with prisoners he
saw two of his friends assassinated. By the time he returned to Denmark
12 of his friends had been murdered (in the years since so many of his
friends have been murdered that he has completely lost count).
The (multi-media) show
Back in Denmark he put together the photos he had taken into a multimedia
show named American Pictures. His show instantly became enormously
popular and with the help of several black American friends, it was shown
in 14 countries in 7 languages between 1976-82.
The profit was used for
aid in support of the struggle against apartheid by donating schools
and farm machinery to the countries and liberation groups bordering South
The show in America
In 1982 the show moved to America, where Jacob Holdt has since presented
it in more than 300 universities, city councils, churches, etc. The show
has been updated constantly and one fourth of the pictures are now from
In his latest version from
1997 Holdt worked closely with leading educators, psychologists and workshop
counselors throughout America and Europe in order to best incorporate
universal themes of oppression.
As a result the show is now
the ideal thought-provoking "warm up" for national and international
conventions on peace, ethnic conflict, human rights, sociology etc.
This page in Danish
Copyright © 1997
AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.