Review of new show
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1996
By ANNE BOYD
Three-thousand pictures times 1000 words equals infinitely more than
any form of language.
For five years Holdt hitch-hiked around the United States photographing the American underclass, selling his blood for money, living in hundreds of American homes and capturing a story unheard by many.
"It is not so much my words that are important," Holdt said before his
show began. "We all have a lot of pain inside of us -- a lot of scars --
we know that if we don't work them out we end up reenacting them."
"Photography is maybe one of the truest forms of media," said Angela Rohacek (sophomore-communication disorders), who attended the show. In his introductory remarks, Holdt told the audience his show is not entertainment -- it is oppression. "It is an attempt to try to oppress you, but remember you are in the company of many fellow oppressed people," Holdt said.
Nonetheless, an underlying theme in "American Pictures" is love and
the importance of state of mind.
With photographs consistently on the screen between words, music and Holdt's narration, viewers saw, for example, a young African-American child peering through a torn screen window while a chubby, old man in a picture opposite the screen had a gentle smile even though he was dressed in his white Ku Klux Klan robe. "I find the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis some of the most important and obvious groups to embrace and help out of their anger -- instead we hate them," Holdt said, while pictures of angry people protesting in the streets covered the screen.
After a brief intermission, the show proceeded with images of the North and a section called "The Ghetto in our Minds," continuing to highlight "the oppression people go through to become oppressors." "I guess I'm sort of shocked," said Stacey Shields (sophomore-biobehavorial health). "I'm surprised that it's my nation." Darren Gouran (junior-sociology) was also surprised by the show. "I really had no idea what to expect," he said. "It's amazing -- stunning. I walked in and I was just like, wow, what did I walk into?"
Holdt said racism in Europe is increasing, such as between Catholics and Protestants. Ten years ago, however, Holdt said he would never have thought racism and social inequality would be worse globally today because there used to be more enthusiasm and hope for the future. "I don't really feel guilty but I don't feel like I'm helping," Shields said. "I don't know exactly what to do -- where to start." Despite the horror found through his lens, Holdt said he fell in love with the Americans he met. "I have a deep faith in the goodness of people," Holdt said.
Copyright 1996, Collegian Inc., Last Updated - 11/11/96 9:16:17 PM