Dear Jacob Holdt,
I want to thank you, but American Pictures, and the workshop you held
today affected me in so many ways I don't know where or how to begin. Although
I don't feel I came with especially heavy racist baggage, I, like all other
white Americans have over packed, and am starting to realize how evasive
of the issue speaking of racism in relativistic terms is. It's not a question
of how much or how little, or if you can exempt yourself from some of the
guilt by comparing yourself to a "true bigot". Your workshop deepened my
understanding of this and impressed upon me how important it is to continually
confront ourselves with our racism without fear of admitting to it or of
actively changing our views.
I was especially taken with how you've integrated your love of people,
and your art. Art, in my eyes, is more than something to color a white
wall with. It is a way of seeing, and living. Your way of being, the way
you are able to approach yourself and your surroundings so fearlessly,
and thus be able to create honest art, simultaneously and more importantly
making a difference in people's lives, amazes and inspires me.
I discovered photography last year, in a manner similar to your own
commencement as a photographer, during my travels in Europe and Morocco.
Although I now try to take photo classes at Cornell, I will be receiving
my degree in Human Development and Family Studies. When I tell people that
I am studying both psychology and photography they often seem surprised
that I am pursuing two areas that differ so much. I don't see any disparity
at all, and I can see in your work, that you don't either. They are both
motivated by a love and fascination with humanity, and human relations
to each other, their idea/ideale, and the physical world.
Enclosed are two photos I took in Morocco and France. Although they
hardly compare to your work, and can't amount to half of what you've given
me, I thought it might be nice to "exchange snapshots". Its interesting
that in getting to know both peoples I was shocked by the racial tensions
between them. I had never been exposed to anti-Arab racism, and could not
comprehend the attitude of "those dirty arabs". In France my best friends
were Moroccans, and i have never received such love or warmth as I did
in Morocco. You mentioned yesterday that you pity anyone who has less than
three countries they can call their home. I identify completely with that
sentiment. Morocco is my country, I have get to discover another country,
or people that i love as much; that intensify every experience I have,
that make me feel that I haven't truly been living or feeling before.
I'm sorry that this letter is so rushed. Sometimes in this institute
of "higher learning" we have little time to think, let alone respond! I
hope to meet you again, maybe in Denmark as in your introduction, maybe
Africa, maybe again in America... Or, if you find yourself in need of an
assistant, I'll always be willing, and can be reached at the address at
the top of this letter.
Thank you, Jacob!
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AMERICAN PICTURES; All