Mike Brodie began traveling the railways in 2002 at the age of 17. Unannounced, he left his house with only a few personal belongings. Brodie returned home days later, infatuated with train-hopping culture. "Two weeks later I was gone...this was it, I was riding my very first freight train. And soon, what would begin as mere natural curiosity and self-discovery would evolve into a casting call of sorts." Brodie began to photograph his travels in 2004 when he acquired an old Polaroid camera. From then on, Brodie shot exclusively on Polaroid film, earning him the moniker the Polaroid Kidd; a name he would tag on box cars and walls. From 2006 - 2009, Brodie switched to 35mm film. During this five-year span, Brodie rode over 50,000 miles through 46 states documenting the people and places he encountered along the way. Brodie captures his companions through intimate portraits set against ever-changing landscapes. His photographs capture the raw reality of his travels: the dirt, the blood, the struggles and, ultimately, a community of travelers who share the challenges and triumphs of life on the road. Although Brodie was never trained, his photographs exemplify a keen eye for composition and follow in the footsteps of artists Robert Frank, William Eggleston and Nan Goldin. His images visualize modern versions of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn or Jack Kerouac's On the Road, while also reflecting symbols of a passing era in American culture that include trains, punk aesthetics and Polaroid cameras. One never to gravitate towards attention, as soon as Brodie began gaining fame for his images, he retreated into obscurity, focusing his obsession on becoming a diesel mechanic: a job that he currently pursues in Oakland with the same passion he approached to image-making.
See the works from 'A Period of Juvenile Prosperity' on exhibition concurrently at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York until April 6, 2013 and at the M+B Gallery in Los Angeles until May 11, 2013.
A Period of Juvenile Prosperity has also been published as a book by Twin Palms. Read our review.