American Pictures - Gallery

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Please note: To protect the privacy of my friends I have changed or left out their names
and only give state or big cities as location! - Jacob Holdt

USA - History as seen in the present: 

Introduction to 17 pages on rural home life in the South

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Rural black underclass homes - indoor

As a foreigner brought up to see America as a land of affluence it was a shock for me to see the living conditions of blacks in the South. I saw hundreds of thousands live in homes inferior to those we lived in in the middle ages in Denmark - homes I in my childhood had only seen in our open air museums. I was even more shocked that nobody were photographing these inhuman rotten shacks. Many of them were in very remote areas where it was hard to hitchhike. But gradually I learned that many of the worst were actually hidden away "across the tracks" on the muddy back roads of the small southern towns - out of sight for the white racism which both condoned and rationalized their fitness for "niggers." I had not imagined in the 70's that they would still be around 35 years later. Still I regret that I didn't spend more time photographing the "romantic" old woodden ones then since many gradually burned down in the common stove fires and were replaced by mass produced plastic trailers also designed for the poor. So although the poverty and sense of ostracism is the same today, these 17 pages of photos of life in rural shacks shows a period of American history which is rapidly disappearing and being replaced by less photogenic "projects" and trailers.

 usa-00610  usa-00171  usa-00438
 Girl in screen door Fading dream Boy in shack Old woman
 usa-00635  usa-00164 usa-03646 usa-00183
40 acres and a mule Old woman in shack Black and white woman Love at oil lamp
 usa-00290 usa-00094
Wilma Mother and children Linda and mother Reading at oil lamp
98-year old murderer Linda's first light Children with oil lamp Homework in shack
Grandmother Old woman sweeping Old woman in NC Cotton picker in shack
usa-01908 usa-00773
Straightening the hair Girl with oil lamp Modern shack in 1997 Grandmother in bed
usa-01896 usa-00028
Shotgun shacks in rain Stove fires Modern shack 1998 Linda's father

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