American Vagabonds & The Polaroid Kidd
There was an amazing photo essay floating around several years ago, depicting the life of modern day vagabonds. The visceral and sometimes graphic images documented the lives of a group of young people who had, whether by choice or by circumstance, abandoned “traditional life” in favor of a more transient existence. Recently, Nikki sent me a link to a group of photographs with the note: “you have to see these.” As it turns out, the photos she sent, were taken by Mike Brodie, otherwise known as The Polaroid Kidd, who spent three years of his life riding the rails with a Polaroid SX-70. It was the same set of photographs I had seen years earlier. His photographs depict what he calls “travel culture”, shooting those who live on the fringes of society; train-hoppers, vagabonds, squatters and hobos. By allowing himself to become a part of the culture, Brodie was able to capture photographs that do more than just document, they also serve as a narrative of his own life, showing intimate details of a life most of us will never even get close to, let alone lead.