Holdt, Jacob

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Holdt, Jacob Gender: M
born on 29 April 1947 at 18:50 (= 6:50 PM )
Place Copenhagen, Denmark, 55n40, 12e35
Timezone MET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 08°34' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 02°03 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 01°08'

Portrait of Jacob Holdt 
(click to view image source)
Jacob Holdt
photo: Niels Elgaard Larsen, license gfdl


Danish photographer, global vagabond, maker of the "American Pictures" book and traveling slideshow that documents racism and poverty. Holdt left Denmark in the early 1970s for America with $40 in his pocket. He ended up staying for five years and hitchhiking over 118,000 miles across the country. For the past 25 years, he has presented the photos he took during his travels and has described his personal odyssey via "American Pictures." The show has been updated constantly to reflect his more recent travels and experiences.

He has sold blood plasma twice weekly to afford to buy film for his camera, and he has lived in more than 400 homes, from those of the poorest migrant workers to those of America's wealthiest families like the Rockefellers. Seeking a deeper understanding of life through his travels, Holdt worked under slavery conditions with migrant workers and infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and U.S. neo-Nazi groups. He lived with criminals and mass murderers and lost many of his friends to violence.

An important thrust of the show concerns institutionalized poverty, fear and insecurity. As an outsider having grown up in what he describes as a European welfare state, Holdt challenges established American thought patterns by demonstrating through his photography the enormous financial and human costs of life without cradle-to-grave security. He has presented "American Pictures" more than 1150 times at more than 300 colleges and universities. The exhibition also has photos from his travels in Bolivia, Nepal, Thailand, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Kosovo. For six years he toured with his American volunteers in 14 countries to educate on the great human costs of ostracizing and ghettoizing huge population groups. The money from his shows and his best-selling book was spent fighting apartheid in South Africa – primarily by giving humanitarian aid to liberation groups in the frontline states around South Africa.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes Holdt for his data given on his official website [1].


  • Traits : Body : Aerobic exercise (Hitchhiked/walked internationally)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Skills - singular/specialist (Photography)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : On the edge (Sold blood plasma to afford film)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Friends (All lifestyles, walks-of-life)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (Professional traveler)
  • Vocation : Art : Photography (Pro, lifeterm, exhibited internationally)
  • Vocation : Travel : Adventurer
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Photographic human/place "history" book)