Mike Brodie, or The Polaroid Kidd, left home at eighteen and went to travel America via the railroads. At some point, a friend gave him a camera, and he started taking pictures of people and places he encountered during his wanderings. Though he’s only 23 years old, he’s already garnered a good deal of attention in the art world with his photographs, receiving the 2008 Baum Award for Emerging American artists. Since then, not much has been heard of him, but the pictures we have of his show the modern side of the America more famously captured by Kerouac and the like.
I love his pictures for the feelings they evoke, for how thoughtful they are while dealing with a side of life that is so utterly foreign to me. There’s something so simultaneously exuberant and poignant about the photos and their subjects. They remind me of the kids and the life that people far cooler than me knew, the crusty punks that hung around the park in the center of town, who nicknamed me “la madama”, because I sat in too uptight a manner, trying too hard to hang, as they lounged gracefully on the grass. Obviously I’m over-romanticising aspects of this, but Brodie’s pictures seem almost magical to me, letting me peek into the intimacies of a realm that I’ve only had the most superficial of brushes with. It’s the most delightful form of voyeurism, letting me into this world so I can see it without actually dealing with the dirt or discomfort.
Ok, I’ll shut up now. Look! Pretty pictures!