My Curriculum Vitae
(or personal diary/year book)
Note: If you look for any educational degrees,
formal occupations, job promotions or honorary awards you
are looking under the wrong person. This CV goes mainly
to show that life can be quite fun without.
Born in Copenhagen to Jacob and Grethe Holdt. My father a
minister of the Church of
Move to the small village of
Faaborg in Western Denmark
where I grow up in a wonderful rectory.
I start in 1st grade in
Slebsager School in the countryside close to the village. There are
only 3 rooms for the 7 grades and for long periods one teacher has to
teach us all simultaneously by walking from one room to the next due to
shortage of teachers.
Shortly after the Soviet invasion of Hungary - which
makes a deep impression on me - I make my first
rebellion, kicking and screaming my father when he wanted me to go to church. From then
on I only have to go to church every second Sunday.
When playing with two of my school friends we burn down my father's forest.
I write a big essay on
Albert Schweitzer - my hero at the
time - whose childhood I identify strongly with. Same
year I am choked by the
Sharpeville massacre which makes
an indelible impression on me.
I start preliminary school on the very same dark day the
Berlin wall comes up. I cry - along with most of Africa -
over Lumumba's execution in Congo.
high school in
Esbjerg, the "big" town
15 miles away, where the teachers don't understand my
Kicked out after 2 years in high school for laziness.
Receptionist in Hotel Varde, where I am fired.
Go to Krogerup Folk High School where I experience a
beginning political awakening. During the summer I am
drafted into the
Royal Danish Palace Guard.
I am thrown out of the Palace Guard after 8 months. Among
other things for refusing to shoot a gun.
Live in a former funeral home in Copenhagen, where I put
up a hotchpotch of people. Among them a Marxist Sikh
student leader expelled from India after pressure from
the USA. Also I house several escaped American Vietnam
deserters, who help to strongly politicize me. During the
1968 European youth rebellion I am part of a little
activist group which is involved in many actions against
the Vietnam war and the Russian invasion of
I have so many pending court cases that I decide to
emigrate. To protest the spending of money for a new
church tower I paint over my father's church with Bible
quotes on how you should rather spend money on the
starving children during the
than build towers for God. It is not a pleasant Easter morning view for
my father who kicks me out.
The parents of a 17 year old run-away Canadian girl, whom I have housed
for half a year, invite me to Canada.
I go to Canada to work on the farm of
Dr. Charles Godfrey
near Toronto for a year. Here I work with an Argentinean
political refugee. We decide to hitchhike to Chile to
Salvador Allende's democratic revolution.
Hitchhike off toward Latin America, but turn around in
St. Louis - afraid of hitching through the South. I am
invited to stay with a young black woman, Denia, on the
south-side of Chicago. I suddenly find myself with only
black people around and right away fall in love with
I still want to go to Latin America and hitchhike the safer route over
Canada down the West Coast.
In San Francisco I get robbed by three blacks after a couple of days and
decides to find out where all that anger and pain is coming from.
I get invited to stay
with members of Angela
Davis' Lumumba resistance group at
the time of her arrest. I get more and more interested in
the black struggle and keep delaying my departure to
I am choked by the
massacres in Kent State
prison and begin to travel through America's ghettos.
I send hair- raising letters home to my parents and
friends and after half a year my parents sends me a cheap
half-frame camera and ask me to send pictures home. I am
first a bit apprehensive about photographing rather than
involving myself, but gradually I am hooked.
After a brief involvement with the Black Panthers whose
national paper I keep delivering pictures to during the 5
years, I am increasingly disappointed about the apathy in
the ghettoes and decide to travel to Latin America for
good. This time with a black activist from Detroit in
order to join up with the guerrilla in Guatemala. We
agree to meet in Mexico City where I end up staying with
a rich family. But Chris turns around after San Diego -
unable as a black man to get any rides. Instead I
continue with various American women as traveling
partners and manage to get inside Guatemala with the help
of a short hair wig. I am frequently stopped by soldiers
and - after much hitchhiking in the mountains - never
find the guerrilla. Read in Time Magazine that there will
be protests at the republican convention and instead
hitchhike to Miami. My Latin American revolutionary
romance is over and only 6 days after I succeed with the
help of the short hair wig to get housed in President
Nixon's head quarter for 4 days before being arrested by
the Secret Service.
Hitchhike aimlessly around the USA, only stopped by
various love affairs, but soon I am again faced with the
choice between the gun or the camera when the rebellion
in Wounded Knee breaks out. I help smuggle guns in at
night time, but one of the Indian leaders falls in love
with me and keeps me away from the actual struggle. For
half a year I cannot photograph as the camera is broken
and I don't have the 29 dollars to fix it for.
I travel in ghettos throughout the country. On September
13th I get married to a poor black woman, Annie Rush, and
end up in a hopeless ghetto situation. Am active in the
United Prisoners Union in San Francisco and does outreach
work for Rev. Cecil Williams in
Glide Memorial Church.
Work with a black panther trying to feed hundreds of
people in the church. Also get involved in petty crime
with street people in order to survive.
My best friend in California, Popeye Jackson is
assassinated - and I escape out on the highways again.
Fall a bit in love with Mary - a poor black woman in
Alabama - but white bigots firebomb her house. These
incidents make me increasingly feel that my photography
has too big human consequences. I had arrived in the US
with $40 and now return "home" to Denmark -
disillusioned - but with 15000 pictures. 12 of my friends
have been murdered (since then more than 22).
In two months I make a slide show in my parents rectory
and show it in the local churches and schools. My father
helps with money to buy slide projectors for. He wants to
dispel the rumors that have circulated in my village
during my five year absence of "the minister's son
having become a junkie, a criminal, a prostitute etc. in
News about the show spread fast and in April the
national intellectual newspaper "Information"
makes a 5 page story and organizes a well publicized tour
for - what the paper now names - "American
Pictures". In some places up to 3000 people stand in
line to get in. "Information"'s publishing
division wants to make a book of the material and take me
to the book fair in
Frankfurt, where the book is sold off
to a number of countries before I have even written it. I
have no idea about how to write a book and end up just
using the text from the show along with some personal
I send a long letter to all my American friends about the
success. Some call me up crying. They had - like myself -
never thought anything would come out of my pictures. One
of them, the black social worker Tony Harris, immediately
comes to Denmark to help. He becomes the first of later
five black co-workers, who each gets a car and a copy of
the show to go on tour with. Each of them frequently has
one showing in the morning in a school and one in the
evening for the general public whereby up to 2000 Danes
per day see the show for a number of years. Concurrently
we tour in 14 other countries with the show in 7
In April the Danish book "Amerikanske Billeder"
is published in 10.000 copies - sold out in two weeks.
Later it sells 80.000 copies in Denmark - equivalent to
3.5 million in the USA. I had never had time to write a
contract with Information, who right away wants to sell
the book all over the world - including the USA. It
frightens me to get all that publicity and a Russian KGB-agent reveals to me over dinner that the Communist
Block intends to use the book against President
human rights campaign. I begin using lawyers in a long
legal battle with Information to get the book stopped in
the rest of the world. I break down crying in the
manager's office to get them to stop what has for
"Information" become quite an economic pillar,
but which I see as a "Frankenstein monster". I
manage to get a contract so "narrow" that the
book is practically stopped from further sales - apart
from the 9 countries where the damage was done.
For the first time I am invited to an American
university. After the show they give me a car in order
that I can go around and present the show for all my
friends appearing in the show. After a private showing in
Jane Fonda's house in Santa Monica Hollywood promoters
wants to organize a "nationwide tour" in 76
larger cities - right away! After a test screening for
all of Muhammed Ali's family and various lawyers, they
want to make me a "superstar" on the Johnny
Carson Show with a grand opening in a Hollywood theater
for invited movie stars. I am again frightened by the
prospects and ask for time to go around to all the
photographed people in order to get their approval first.
In my own head, however, I already know that I will break
off the contact with Hollywood.
The large German newsmagazine Der Spiegel brings for
the first time ever color photos in order to serialize my
book. The book at the same time becomes the biggest
bestseller ever for a foreign book in Germany. I receive
tons of letters from both East- and West Germans.
As a result of the financial success I establish the
"American Pictures Foundation
for Humanitarian Aid to Africa" with the 10
co-workers. The idea is that all the money from the show,
the book and since the movie shall belong to the victims
of European colonialism. It is easy for a photographer to
get success by exploiting the suffering of the poor. What
matters is to make a success of the success: namely with
the pictures to constructively change conditions for the
We start out by giving a 2 year scholarship to a
student from Uganda. We also get permission to take a
black American - sentenced to life for murder - out of
the prison in the daytime in order to make him the daily
leader of the foundation.
We start the two year project of making a movie based on
the show for cinemas and TV and end up wasting a quarter
of a million dollars on it. The cost would have been much
higher had we not used volunteers for most of the work.
After turning down several professional photographers we
end up letting the young high school student Jens Jørgen
Jensen be in charge of the technical transfer of slides
to film, which takes place in my bedroom.
We get involved in large spy scandal. One of our
volunteers, Jörg Meier - one of my most trusted and
clever helpers who had made and narrated my German show
and taken care of all my German correspondence - turns
out to be a planted East German spy. He is since part of
the big "spy swap" with East Germany - along
with West German Chancellor Willy
secretary. Apart from being a spy he is an incredible
human being whom we have come to deeply love. So while he
is in a Danish prison he continues to work for us: he
builds a sound studio in his cell where he does the
narration for our movie - while organizing shows for us
in the prison system - and publishing his own poems
written in Danish.
As a result of President Carter's (and later Reagan's)
campaign for human rights the communist countries,
however, display a bit too much interest in American
Pictures. They see it as a more persuasive tool than
their own propaganda to show that human rights are pretty
bad in the U.S. as well. Through all these years Russian
agents frequently invite me out for dinner, where they
sometimes try to get me to change certain parts of the
show well aware that it has "changed a generation of
young people's attitude to the USA."
That American Pictures has become an important part of
the cold war power struggle over hearts and minds we now
frequently have confirmed: when American congressmen
visiting Denmark ask the ambassador about his problems,
he often begins a long story about a long bearded guy
running around spreading bad rumors about the US. Yet,
sometimes East and West are in surprising agreement about
the show: one week the KGB asks me if I "can't put
more poor whites into the show so it doesn't look like
only blacks are suffering in America". Less than a
week later the American ambassador tells me with almost
the same words: "You ought to have more about poor
whites in the show to give it a little more
balance." Both of them evidently misunderstand the
show - and have certainly no interest in its deeper
anti-racist message. As a former penniless vagabond and
outsider, however, I often find myself perplexed about
being a pawn in the superpower struggle and am often
thrown into depressions.
I fly to Miami to see the race riots first hand - a week
before my son's baptism - and hitchhike to New York to
take graffiti photos for the movie. I manage to get home
an hour before the baptism. The volunteers are
increasingly frustrated about how the movie is swallowing
all the money set aside for Africa. I personally gamble
that the movie is a necessary investment in order to
increase the funds for Africa, but in my own mind I start
having doubts about it. If successful it will perhaps
just be used by the Communist Block against the
The blacks in the group - on the other hand - are of
the opinion that the more outside pressure which is put
on America, the more the American government will be
forced to take positive steps for American blacks - just
as was the case during the Civil Rights
struggle. I feel
convinced by the blacks that my position is selfish
"since all I am thinking about is to secure my own
return to America." Secretly, however, I play around
with thoughts about selling the whole movie to the CIA
for a huge amount which can be donated to our Africa
projects in return for a promise that I can return to
America - rather than gambling with our African money.
Probably the CIA would have accepted the offer, for - as
it is later revealed in the American media - at that very
moment the U.S. State department spends large sums of
money to try to counter the effects of American Pictures
All our volunteers take off for the Cannes Film Festival
with the movie, which according to American papers
"create a sensation" there. It is immediately
invited to film festivals in London,
South Africa, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is sold
to Channel Four in Britain for $83,000 which we right
away send to Zimbabwe. Here we have just started a school
project for 1200 refugee children coming back home after
the war. Since Zimbabwe is now free and even democratic
we no longer have to go through the Russians in order to
deal with the Marxist bureaucracy of Angola.
I have no interest in the European Film festivals, but
in the fall I present the movie at the San Francisco Film
Festival for 1600 people - constantly applauding.
Afterwards the show is given for a month in the
University of Chicago by my two American volunteers, Tony Harris and Howard
Pinderhughes, while I hitchhike around to visit old
friends in the ghettos.
I travel with Kitte Fennestad to Africa invited by the
governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. However,
passengers in the Russian airplane recognize me from
stories in Pravda and Izvestia and fill us up with vodka.
So rather than picking us up in the airport, the
government of Mozambique puts us in prison to sober up.
In Zimbabwe, where the media blasts out with headlines
such as "the good Samaritan visiting Zimbabwe",
we are first chauffeured around in a Limousine. When we
object the government lets a former freedom fighter drive
us to our school project in the mountains. Here we are
given a heart warming reception by the inhabitants, who
are moved by the pictures in my book: "Why don't
these poor (black Americans) come home (to Africa)?"
they ask - convinced that life here would be better for
Afterwards we hitchhike around and find the
cooperative farm Batsiranai, where 120 devoted former
guerrillas from the recent war of independence have been
given 5000 acres of land by the government, but no
machinery. We immediately promise them help and later in
the year send them tractor and farm machinery. We feel
this is the best investment we can make in the struggle
against South African apartheid: to help make Zimbabwe a
positive, multi-racial and democratic example.
My book earns us trust from the otherwise paranoid
ANC-fighters in Zimbabwe, who are constantly killed by
South African commandos. One man we stay with has his
best friend blown up by a car bomb outside our door. No
one knows more than one or two other ANC members, but we
are trusted to smuggle top secret papers down to a
guerilla group in Botswana with orders to swallow the
papers if we are stopped. We succeed, but the entire
group we give the papers to is massacred by South African
elite forces a few days after our visit. Instead we try
unsuccessfully to sneak across the border into South
Africa which has banned me - the highest and only award I
have ever been given for my work against apartheid.
We hitchhike 6000 miles through Eastern Africa and fly
directly to San Francisco, where Tony and Howie need our
help. Seven of our volunteers from Denmark now settle in
San Francisco trying to start a theater like the one the
show runs in for 12 years in Copenhagen (the longest
running show ever in town). We are so hopeful about
success that we self-confident have sent all our money to
Africa in order "to pull ourselves up by the
bootstraps" which we have brought with us.
Well, we all end up on welfare and food stamps in the
Mission. We have great reviews and good shows, but not
enough money. The year is so hard that the group
gradually breaks up. I am sent out on the highway with my
2 year old son in order to find a publisher so we can get
an advance. Besides, the others know I can always survive
as a vagabond with no money. We get $100 for the journey
- and return after a couple of months with at least twice
that amount. My son is spoiled with ice-cream, love and
affection by my friends in all the ghettos where they are
not used to seeing a white child.
Disillusioned I return to Copenhagen with my family to
write the American book. With the critique we have
received - especially from the left in California - it is
obvious that the American book needs to be thought over
must better than the European version. Go on a few tours
to help start up the show in new countries. In England it
ends up as a great scandal. The London City Council has
blown it up big as the official opening of their Year
against racism and thousands stand in line. The first
evening is a great success, but the next evening a group
- which people claim is organized by the CIA - invades
the Scala Theater and destroys the performance. Fights
break out in the audience, my equipment and pictures is
smashed and police is called. The next day the group
force it's way into the London City Council, which is
showered with coffee, and fights break out between Tory's
and Labour, who is made responsible for the show.
"The (American) Pictures War" continues in
England's papers for a while and nobody since dares to
touch the show. In Ireland, where people see so much of
their own subjugation under British rule in the show, it
is on the other hand a huge success.
...turns out to be not so Orwellian. Amanda Berger - one
of the West Coast volunteers - moves to New York to
organize the show in the East. The book is not yet
finished, but I start in September with the movie in the
New York theater Film Forum to great reviews and long
lines of people. Afterwards I tour universities.
Especially Harvard University puts it on again and again.
One law student is so moved that he changes career to
work for the poor rather than Wall St.
In Copenhagen I dissolve the last of the collective
and instead make my house open for everybody. A wonderful
international atmosphere is created around the show where
up to 50 from the USA, Israel, Australia, Africa etc
sleep there every night, playing music etc.
My family moves with me to Boston for a year to help
distribute the book after my volunteer on the book
project has been killed. In the fall I have my father
with me on tour. American audiences are extremely open -
and already at my first show my father finds a new wife
in M.I.T. After a tour in California I am followed by a
groupie all over the country and all kinds of accidents
happens - finally ending with burglars breaking into the
car stealing for $25.000 equipment including
A new set of the show is flown over and the spring tour
goes fine - until the groupie shows up again. After a
quarrel I end up smashing the car in irritation. With the
family I travel to Mexico and Cuba before returning to
Denmark. My house meantime has been more and more taken
over by Arabs and refugees. During the great national
debate on how many refuges Denmark should accept, the
media use our wonderful community as an example of how it
is possible to create multi-racial harmony.
During a break in the fall tour I fly to Jamaica to hang
out with gangsters and prostitutes in the Kingston
ghetto, Trench town.
I have an old school friend with me on tour - the first
of many Danes to get a free ride through America's best
schools and worst slums. Black author James Baldwin has
several times tried to get to see the show and finally he
succeeds - driving in a snow storm for two hours. He is
so enthusiastic about the show that we go out drinking
afterwards - only a couple of weeks before his death.
Progressive black mayor of Chicago, Harold
organizes my show to heal the chasm between whites and
blacks in the city counsel - shortly before he too dies.
I am nominated - the first of many times - to the
Humanitarian Award by the National Ass. of Campus
My family joins me on my spring tour after which we
climb Aztec- and Maya ruins in Mexico. In the summer I
end up having a record number of 66 Arab, Palestinian and
Iranian refugees living with me. They sleep on every inch
of my floors - using my bedroom as a prayer room - and I
start getting up earlier and earlier in the morning to
avoid standing two hours in line for my bath room. The
infra structure breaks down, the few remaining Americans
flee my house which ends up as a ghetto. After several
knife fights - and after some of my visiting black
friends from America flee - I decide to throw everybody
out and close down the house.
This year I begin to develop my racism workshop and
gradually hope to remove myself from the show in order to
teach. I had previously seen it as my highest desire to
scrape as much money together for the poor countries and
the struggle against apartheid. I now gradually see the
purpose of my work as helping American students to
overcome their racism - as the best and only way of
helping the underclass. In the fall I have the Danish
poet Pia Tafdrup with me on tour. She persuades me to
start photographing again. Later in the fall my daughter,
"Lalou", is born.
On the spring tour I have another Danish author with me,
Palle Petersen, and begin to work with Tony Harris again. The
combination of a black and a white man together on stage
turns out to be very powerful for the students. Tony
verbalizes my thinking much better than myself, and his
ability to see the victim in the racist whites and treat
them with deep love and affection move both me and the
audiences to tears in many schools. So it is a bit unfair
that I again am nominated for NACA's Humanitarian award.
It is frustrating for Tony to constantly stand in the
shadow of me during the show - while in many schools
there is no time for his workshop next day. The problem
is that we are now so successful that we have shows every
single day - and a good deal of driving in between. But
Tony is - at least - a good driver (he is too scared to
let me drive, he says) and thus he ends up in the good
old black role as a chauffeur for another successful
After my yearly show for freshmen in Boston University
President Reagan's speech writer calls the school up and
demands equal time to "present the other side of the
Unfortunately I have a show in Union College on the great
day the Berlin wall comes down, but at least I am able to
celebrate its fall - standing on top of it along with
thousands of jubilant Germans during the Christmas days -
that wall which had not only been a headache for us when
we had shows in Berlin, but which symbolized the powerful
cold war forces I had been up against with my book.
Having stopped the book for several years I now give
permission to my old publisher to republish the book all
over the world.
American Pictures had previously had meetings with the
leader of Namibia's guerrilla movement Sam
Nujorma - the
country's president today - and as a result had helped
finance a nursing school for SWAPO. Therefore we are glad
now to see the result of the anti-apartheid we have been
so active in - not least by supporting the very powerful
divestment movement on American campuses with the show.
Africa's last colony is finally getting independence and
I am officially invited to the ceremony by the president.
Only to find out that my agent has long ago organized
shows for me in Hawaii on the day.
During the spring tour my 10 year old son comes over to
drive with me and Tony. He is more interested in all the
video game halls of American universities than in our
lectures. After the tour we go to Iceland to celebrate
the 20 year anniversary with the friends who once me in
on my original trip to America
Sadam Hussein destroys the fall tour: under the impact
of the pending war the number of my engagements drops to
half. Instead I get time to photograph the exploding
crack scene and to spend more time with the
During spring break I fly to Bolivia in order to make a
slideshow for CARE.
After two weeks driving around with CARE people I am
thrilled about the way they give assistance. I later rent
a jeep to go around on my own. Unable to speak Spanish I
am lucky every time I need help to find some of my
previous American audiences who can go with me as
Back in Denmark I make the Bolivia show in 3 weeks and
introduce it at our local "Woodstock" music
festival. I start touring in Danish schools with much
success, but in talks with students they constantly ask
about my work in America. I am shocked gradually to learn
how much racism has exploded in Danish schools in the ten
years since I stopped touring. I decide to make a new
Danish version of American Pictures in an effort to
counter this racism.
During the fall tour I have a crew from Danish State
TV to follow me around in colleges and ghettos in order
to make a TV-program about me. I have told all my
homeless New York friends to be ready for the movie, but
some of my best friends are being detoxified or are in
jail and don't show up at the agreed time. I am most
disappointed about the absence of Muhammed, the black
panther I had worked with feeding the poor people 20
years earlier. But the TV- crew is even more unreliable
since Danish people work after union rules and don't feel
like sitting in front of a fire on the street waiting all
New Year's day all hell breaks loose: Gorbachev has just
resigned and Gordievskij, the previous top KGB officer in
Denmark, sells the news to the Danish boulevard press
that I "had been their top agent in the West".
Day after day the papers bring up new stories about me.
From the first minute I admit that "I was an agent
since I had led the KGB believe I was one". However,
I had always told all my friends about it openly, so
could I really have been a good old- fashioned secret
spy? Most people defend me as "having always been
hanging out with the wrong people", but for my
family it is a hard month with hate mail etc.
After a week I tell my full story to the press. Since
I have all the proof - the legal documents showing how I
had stopped the book so that it could not be used by the
Russians etc - the public ends up mostly believing me (I
think) - or not giving a damn. In the schools I want to
tell my "KGB spy tales" to the students, but
they keep asking questions about racism. I soon conclude
that I have no future in "show business" as
"the spy who came in from the cold".
During spring break I fly to Costa Rica to study the
black/white situation there and afterwards to Nicaragua
to photograph among the slum-dwellers in Managua.
During summer I bring my family with me to photograph in
Bolivia, where I present a Spanish version of my Bolivia
In November I am close to death. I end up speaking too
long in a midnight radio interview in Grand Forks, ND and
as a result have to rush full speed in a snowstorm to
catch a plane from Minneapolis to California next
morning. At 3 in the morning I hit unseen "black
ice" and the van rolls over several times and blocks
traffic in the opposite lane. Luckily my two passengers
are not hurt, but in severe shock. I cancel the rest of
the tour - "Why kill myself for apathetic
students?" - and go on visits in various ghettos
During my spring tour the World Trade Center is blown up
just as I fly over it. During the next days it seems as
the FBI slowly closes in on me until they finally seal
off the warehouse I store my show in. Why? In the room
next to mine the terrorists had fabricated the bomb. Nice
people I had always thought of them!
In the fall I start a new Danish edition of American
Pictures with strong emphasis on Danish racism. Having
not shown it for 10 years in Denmark I am surprised to
see how it now affects the Danes in totally different way
"really hitting home, as the audience
Two young Danish teenagers have just been knifed to
death. As a result I organize a huge show on Martin
Luther Kings birthday to raise money and support for the
"Stop the violence" campaign. More than 2000
show up to a moving day with messages from King's
daughter and the singing of "We shall
overcome." The rest of the year I am fully booked up
in elementary schools using my show to instil awareness
of violence in the children.
On the spring tour I have Anita Roddick -
progressive owner of the renown cosmetic chain The Body
Shop - with me in the car. I take her around to meet many
of the poor people in my book. Having worked extensively
in poverty situations in many Third World countries she
is shocked seeing the hopelessness in the American
During the fall tour I fly to Haiti to see Clinton's
invasion which I strongly support. I decide to move in
with one of the poorest families I can find in the
violent slum town of City Solei - offering the unemployed
family the equivalent per night of what a hotel would
cost. I share a bed with 5 people - one of them an
emaciated young woman with aids. During the hurricane
Gordon I am locked in for two days while water rise to
the edge of the bed. Afterwards I walk around - more or
less in shock - in knee deep water with dead bodies
floating around everywhere.
After the fall tour I fly to Nepal to do shows for The
Body Shop as an outcome of my tour with Anita Roddick. I
can't get my equipment through customs and end up
photographing in the mountains for CARE instead.
Afterwards I fly to Thailand to work in The Golden
Triangle for CARE and DANCED. As a result of the
Convention Denmark has a huge project here trying so save
the rain forest. During the Buddhist holidays I fly to
Cambodia to meditate in The Killing Fields on the 20 year
anniversary for Phnom Penh's take over by the Khmer
After spending the morning alone with 8000 sculls I fall
from a scooter into a muddy ditch full of excrements. I
want to see king Sihanouk in the afternoon, but have no
time to wash up. Sihanouk arrives at his palace, I make a
sudden jump onto the red carpet through the lines of
soldiers, can't get out again - and then to my surprise
find Sihanouk smiling to me while forcing me to walk
backwards on the red carpet - all the way into the castle
which is totally closed off for journalists. At least 500
m I walk like this with Shianook walking toward me -
while his entire government with wives in gala bow deeply
for us. I spent the whole afternoon with him in the most
intimate situations. Obviously - in my smelly, dirty
costume - I have ended up to his great amusement as a
court jester for him.
During the spring I have a Norwegian publisher with me on
tour. We try to find the mass murderer I had picked up 5
years earlier and who is now an important part of the
show. We spend some exciting days tracking down his
entire - and equally violent - family in dense fog in the
swamps and slowly get entangled in a sad web of
generational child abuse followed by violent adult
In Denmark I am deeply involved in the Images of
Africa festival organized by my wife. I finally finish my
new updated edition of American Pictures. For months
during the spring I e-mail the text back and forth to
almost 20 American professors and editors. Present the
show at the AIESEC's world congress in Poland.
After a long tour in Norway I fly to Nepal with
my family to continue the photography I started earlier
for Care - with a short stop to see Ghandi's grave in New
During the fall I have a woman from Danish State
Radio in the car to do a program on my relationship to
old friends in the ghettos as well as my new mass murder
friend, Woody, who is now in prison.
During the spring tour I go to the former Danish Virgin
Islands - partly to see the result of a different type of
slavery here - and partly to research my family roots in
St. Croix. Also I visit Puerto Rico for the first
Starting after 6,500 screenings to trap down my grueling tours in the US
to visit and photograph my friends in the ghettos more. Photographs
during Hurricane Mitch in Guatemala
for CARE .
As a result of
my volunteering in Guatemala, I am headhunted by CARE's Guatemala
Director to photograph for CARE
in Kosovo and
follow the returning Albanians home to their burnt houses and relatives
in mass graves. Traveling around with
Prince Joachim in Bolivia .
across Denmark - 1247
km from the Elbe to Skagen and Blåvand to Kalmar -
to relieve stress. Fits in the summer my cancer-stricken father, who
dies in the fall .
by Rundetårn to make my first photo exhibition ever
with 254 pictures. 60,000 visitors come in two months. That same year, I
was invited by IBIS to do an Africa
show from Namibia and
South Africa, where I participate in the UN Racism Conference. Invited
by Sam Nujorma to the presidential palace, but instead moves in with some
lesbians in the slums and
takes an active part in their fight against the homophobic president -
my former ally in the fight against apartheid. Doing homophobia workshop
for 100 gays in Windhook. Meets several young people who tell me they
would not have been alive if
I had not (by matching funds from the EU) built Kwanzu Zul during the
freedom struggle. These meetings move me strongly.
The TV station DK4 is making two
about my work in the USA and confront me with the worst Ku Klux
with the Ku Klux Klan in the US ,
doing volumes of interviews for an upcoming DVD on racism with members
about their frequent childhood abuse. Begins at the request of the Film
Institute together with a professional film team to seek support for
this DVD for teachers around the world and for a
digitization of the show ,
but is rejected everywhere. I throw myself more actively into the
integration struggle in Denmark and am elected to the board
of Critical Muslims and Mixeurope.
Holds lecture with Sherin
Khankan on "Islam and racism".
Begins collaboration with Lars von Trier on three films. Doing research
on "Dear Wendy" in the US for him and the sequel in "Dogville". My
Begins to experiment
with the Ku Klux Klan and brings
i.a. a black woman with me. Together,
we work actively to get the Klan leader released from prison, as I
accidentally discover that he is innocent of the charges. However,
Amnesty International - my regular organizer of the show in Norway -
refuses to support my fight for this
prisoner of conscience.
After seeing "American Pictures", Lars von Trier is inspired by the
themes of internalized oppression and continued slavery among the blacks
to make "American Pictures as a Comedy". He therefore leaves "Dear
Wendy" to Thomas Winterberg and makes "Manderlay" instead
my pictures in the Washington Senate -
both in the rotunda and in the Caucus room where the Watergate and
McCarthy hearings took place - on the occasion of President Bush signing
the law to build a museum for blacks.
at the Contemporary
Art Museum in Chicago . And
in the autumn at the Hayworth Gallery in London and in Milan. French
curators discover my pictures as "fine art" and start arranging
exhibitions around France.
worst Ku Klux Klan leader with me in the car around
to visit my black friends in my long-running attempt to get him out of
Mulhouse, Toulouse and
Rouen with great reviews in Le Monde and other
media. Photographing the
racism of blacks against the pygmies and
other marginalized tribes of Uganda.
The German art
publisher Steidl publishes
"Jacob Holdt's America 1970-75" all over the world.
a German film photographer around the US for
low interviews with the photographers in my books. DR2's TV program
about my trip with
the Ku Klux Klan leader is broadcast.
For my 60 year birthday I organize the biggest photo exhibition of my
life on racism,
in our hearts" in Copenhagen.
Photographer's Gallery in London,
Bretagne and Paris, and
Huge exhibition in the
Danish MOMA Louisiana.
Receives the Danish Government's life long artist pension as well as
information for my CV:
My image archive
with over 10,000 of my images
List of most
influential friends in my life
Overview of 550
photos of myself
Overview of 1000
pictures of my wife 1800
pictures of my father (including from my childhood)
Pictures from some
of the tours, where I have gradually had 29 Danes with me
Overview and access
to my newspaper articles
Overview and access
to my reviews in various countries
Interviews with me
in the US and Denmark
Overview and access
to my TV and radio broadcasts
radio broadcast about my own life in Krunsj
And best TV show
with my dad about my rebellious youth
Overview of my
memberships and board positions
of my 10,463 ancestors 4000 years back in time
stretches I have hitchhiked
stretches I have run
Overview of my main
Back to Jacob Holdt's homepage
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