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"By forcing me to step into the shoes of all the people that you met, you helped me to start letting go of my fear...." 

Dear Jacob Holdt 
I saw American Pictures at Indiana University in November and I wanted you to know that it had a phenomenal effect on me. 

I want to thank you for reminding me of something that is so universal, fundamental and, for some reason forgotten. You reminded me that, before all else I, like everyone else, am a human being and that we should not let color or culture separate us enough that we forget this common bond. You showed us pain and sorrow, happiness and love and you showed us that we need to care for our human brothers not distance ourselves with labels and colors. What better way can we express love and emotions than by trusting the basic human good in everyone and not being afraid of each other? 

I walked out of your show feeling free ...more free than I have in a long time. I felt free of the fear I have of "different" people. I never really thought of myself as a prejudiced or racist person. I grew up in Indianapolis on a street where whites lived on half of the block and blacks on the other and we lived our lives separetely. I always tried to block out racist end degrading remarks that I heard as I was growing up and I always tried to value everyone as equal. But I realize now that by avoiding and separating myself from these "other" groups I put up a wall of fear between myself and the rest of the world. No wonder that I am always afraid and suspicious of "different" people when I am out of my element. The ironic part about all of this is that I am studying Anthropology and one of my strongest dreams is to explore the world and find a universal human spirit. I have always felt this fear of other people but I didn't quite know how to calm it. That is why I am writing to you. After four hours of your images and accounts, I left with an almost jubilant feeling. That may seem like a strange reaction to the images you showed but, I finally felt an understanding of the people that I had always had a fear of. You reach people in so many ways and by forcing me to step into the shoes of all the people that you met, you helped me to start letting go of my fear . 

Realization is the key to change and I now feel that I can go out and do the things I've dreamed of because I will concentrate on the similarities between humans ...not the differences. There are no boundaries or barriers except for the ones we create in our minds. 

I thank you from my heart and spirit for sharing with me. 




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American Pictures - reviews