From vagabonding to international bestseller and multi-media event 

Vagabond years
Arriving in America with only $40 for a short visit, a young Dane, Jacob Holdt ended up staying over five years, hitchhiking more than
100,000 miles throughout the USA. 

He sold blood plasma twice weekly to be able to buy film. He lived in more than 400 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. 

Homeless outside bank

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). 

Welfare mother in New Jersey

The (multi-media) show in Europe 
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 humanitarian aid in support of the struggle against apartheid by donating schools and farm machinery to the countries and liberation groups bordering South Africa. 


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 the 90'es. 

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. 




Other pages under this menu:

Hitchhiking stretches         
Map of the 400  homes I lived in
American Pictures Foundation       
My non-violent approach to photography

Future of American Pictures        
Sponsors of my travel photography



  This page in Danish

Copyright 1997 AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.