“I’d say most of my inspiration was drawn from old-school American values mixed with a little punk-rock idealism.”—Mike Brodie
Mike Brodie’s new monograph, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity has just been released in time for his two forthcoming solo shows: one in LA and one in NYC. For a diesel-engine mechanic who thinks of photography as a “hobby,” this is mighty impressive.
Many will look at these images of young travelers living free and criss-crossing the USA as something raw and exciting, but like many things in life—“Riding the Rails” isn’t anything new. In fact, during the Great Depression more than 250,000+ homeless teenagers were doing the same. The excellent documentary, Riding the Rails, tells the story of these young people and the effect that experience had on the rest of their lives.
Brodie’s images, however, tell an American, 21st Century story that is about freedom, possibility, and opting-out from society’s dictates. These young people (who may be fleeing tough circumstances themselves) are choosing to live a different way of life. Brodie’s friends, lovers, and fellow travelers show us the rough, the real, and the nitty-gritty of life on the move.
Self-taught, Brodie is an innately talented photographer with a great sense of light and composition. This series is strong, sensitive, authentic, and will be one of the important photography shows to see in March. I am looking forward to seeing the exhibit and buying the book. (I am also including this show on my upcoming gallery tour.) Brodie’s photographs have made me eager to discover other artists, especially those outside of the States, who are living and documenting life on the road. —Lane Nevares
“The road must eventually lead to the whole world.”—Kerouac, On the Road