JACOB HOLDT LECTURE

August 31, 2011 / Post a Comment

The school day was spent in the cinema to Jacob Holdt's show "American pictures." The key figure himself was present and I freely admit that I at first wasn’t particularly fascinated by the Danish photographer. But now? Wow. Respect. Jacob Holdt is a very unique man who has managed to capture raw, violent, sad and realistic images.
In the 1970s he traveled through the United States only with a camera, film and little money in his pocket. He lived with the poor, suppressed black Americans and rich, white Americans, where he documented their life style and prejudices. What made the biggest impression on me was his character, his understanding of the world and the people in it. In spite of the fact that he innumerable times have been threatened with knives and guns, he hasn’t blamed anyone or shown any signs of trauma. "I've never met an evil person, only injured people," he stressed several times. But what does he mean by ‘injured’? He told us that he once had collected a male hitchhiker in the 20s who together with a friend and his brother regularly beat random black people on the street to death. Not because they hated them, but because they enjoyed it. Subsequently, the murderer told that he, through his childhood had been beaten and abused by his alcoholic parents. We must not judge the people, who hurt others - we have to feel sorry for them. The only thing they hunger for is love, he said.
The key, according to himself is to learn to put yourself in other people's place and ignore the prejudices we have. He himself is anti-racist and yet he has for the past 10 years been a member of the klu klux clan. It can be difficult to understand, but he said that the group has no power. They stand out in the woods and cries out a lot of things they don’t believe in, he even call them “social outcasts who only seek attention”. The only things which do racist damage, according to Holdt are the ordinary people’s prejudices and their thoughts. If everyone moved to keep themself and their children safe, because people with certain skin color or religion have moved to the area, they will end up creating new, poor ghettos and with oppressed people.

The show we saw today was focused on racism among the black and white Americans, who was shown through his pictures and soundtrack. The picture-show included his opinion about the topic that was shown through his experience on the outcome of historical racism that has been against African-Americans, who today still live in a feudal society, with themselves at the bottom. The idea of the free blacks and that slavery no longer exist is a myth and that racism over generations has created a self-hatred among blacks.
All in all, he has certainly made a big impression on me and I strongly consider going to his second lecture on September the 20th, which has focus on the Klu klux clan.



The Negro’s sweat provides money

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