Monday, July 13, 2009

Itinerant Photographer Mike Brodie

MIKE BRODIE IS A 22-YEAR OLD SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER, who lives his life riding the rails and photographing the sub-culture of people he knows or comes in contact with. He's been doing this since 2003, and calls himself “The Polaroid Kidd.” Brodie is at home with his tribe of train hopping wanderers. They accept him because he is one of them.

It’s a dirty, rough and dangerous life hopping freights. Freight trains are unforgiving, unfeeling giants—they groan and creak and will cut your foot, leg or body in half without blinking it’s monolithic eye.

Self-taught photographers of any substance are rare. Outsider artists Lee Godie (1908-1994), Eugene von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983), Morton Bartlett (1909-1992), Richard Shaver (1897-1995), Fred Ressler (b. unknown), Russian artist Alexandre Lobanov (1924-2002) and Czech artist Miroslav Tichy (b. 1926) are who I would consider the main core of self-taught photographers known and recognized today. Perhaps it is time for the name Mike Brodie to receive wider recognition within this exclusive club.

I have always believed that making art of real power and substance takes sacrifice, dedication and a single-minded effort to make your art above all else. Shooting real life on the rails cannot be done by a drop in visitor who shoots and leaves. Brodie is clearly at home amongst this sub-culture—and it’s there he is able to uncover and reveal to us a harsh and sad reality we would be unable to see otherwise.

Check out Brodie’s work when it was exhibited at Needles+Pens in 2007.


Anonymous said...

Powerful images...for the grace of god go I...Gary

Lauren said...

these are great photos! i like the grungy feel of them. said...

are they sad?

not to be sentimental about it - this guy's obviously happy enough doing it.

Anonymous said...

Mike brodie is great child I am surprised how u collect these kinds of photographs it's really wonderful.


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Stefene said...

So that is who 'The Polaroid Kidd' is! It's gone now, but he left graf in the old Armour Meat Packing plant where Cindy Tower was painting for a few years. Now I feel glad that I grabbed pictures of his signature on the factory wall. He drew lines around the electrical panels to create a portrait of a robot, and hung rubber seals all over the controls in the most beautiful manner.

fred ressler said...

" Then again, no one has been very interested in the real." (Jean Baudrillard).

Thanks for being one of the "no ones".

Fred Ressler (b. 1941)

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