Jacob Holdt - personal homepage 

 Melody: "Climbing Jacob's ladder"


Who am I? 
Due to the seriousness of American Pictures I am often perceived as a very serious person. So here on my personal homepage I will try to relax a bit and show some other - more teasing - sides of myself....
.....you can always
turn me off here:

A good combination of luck and laziness
There are many ways to describe oneself. Here I try to explain politically - especially to Americans - how I ended up making American Pictures. 

My astrological chart 
Since the personal tone of American Pictures raises many questions about my personality I am constantly analyzed and asked out about my astrological data. Now I can refer astrologers to this site where you can even compare it to the chart of
Jacob A. Riis. Since his is a flat horoscope you cannot completely compare the plutonian forces said to shape the obscure minds of "slum photographers" - as well as of the social losers they identify with. 

My curriculum vitae 
For someone who has never held an honest job it seems difficult to write a CV. So this one probably looks more like a diary. I bring it mainly because I get tired of repeating myself in the endless interviews that are an inevitable part of my job. Download it, re-write it - and let's get on to more serious questions which are NOT ABOUT ME! 

My family: 

  • my nuclear family - the small boring kind with no incest and only few skeletons in the closet    

  • my larger world family with over 10,000 family members whom I know by name

  • my saintly family - in case anybody after all the charges of me being a KGB-agent, Ku Klux Klan friend, Nazi friend, mass murderer friend, "nigger lover", junkie, criminal, prostitute etc. should have started doubting my halo, I have worked out this top secret document proving how I truly come of a family of saints.

My hobbies: 

1. Hitchhiking...
...picking up hitchhikers .....or traveling with those who do neither. 

Having hitchhiked more than 5 times around the globe I thought I had the world record until I saw in Guinness that an American hitched even longer in the 60's. 
Well, that was back in the days when you didn't have to wait very long for a ride.... 

Today I enjoy picking up hitchhikers on my tours in America and could write a whole book about the insights they have given me. They have usually waited for days for a lift - not least the mass murderer who became part of my updated show .... 

Traveling in American ghettos is also quite eventful. To have someone to share those experiences with - as well as my highway solitude - I usually invite school friends, authors as well as everyone in my audiences to go with me in my van. 

Two of the better known were Anita Roddick - social activist and owner of the worldwide cosmetic chain The Body Shop - and Pia Tafdrup - one of the most distinguished contemporary Danish poets. They have both written about their startling encounters with the crushing poverty of my American friends. 

2. Third World Development Assistance 
Many foreign aid providers entertain lofty humanitarian ideas as veiled excuses for exotic first class Third World traveling. While I hitchhiked through Africa I became very skeptical of the racism involved in the way we deliver development assistance and refused to have anything to do with it for years. 

Yet I have since found one organization which works in a meaningful way, CARE. I therefore volunteer much of my spare time to work for CARE in Bolivia, Nepal, Guatemala and Thailand. You should look at my CARE page - if only to see that I can take more optimistic pictures than seen in American Pictures

3. Newspaper muckraking 
I love to write, but only publish it when I get sufficiently mad about something. Somehow I get too overwhelmed by the injustices in America and therefore mostly write about those I see in my old society. So most of my articles here are written in Danish. But check out my letters on ecology, the welfare state and others written for American friends. 

4. Genealogy 
Like the family of everyone else mine goes way back before the birth of Christ. Yet, I have done so much research on mine that I can now actually prove it! 

At this point I have recorded 10,061 people in my family tree. American genealogists might find many ancestors we have in common - even blacks - since one of them was a black slave. Most are direct ancestors such as pharaohs like Ramses II, emperors like Augustus and over 900 kings such as Alexander the Great, Cyrus the Great etc. See also my family's relationship with people who talked to - or murdered - Jesus, John the Baptist, St. Paul, Plato, Socrates, and others who shaped modern humanism.   

My relationship to Jesus.....
I am invited to hold a serious talk on racism.....and the first question I often get from American students - not least in Southern Baptist schools - is: "What is your relationship to Jesus?" I know it is their litmus test, but it always throws me off - private as I feel it is.
For how do you reply to frequent rhetorical statements such as "Jesus changed my life" from people who show no outward evidence of e.g. having crossed over to sit at "the Samaritan woman's well" by making friends with the black community - or of trying to be "Good Samaritans" by overcoming their fear of picking up hitchhikers, needy people etc.? 

So here on my personal home page is my chance to "get back" at these students (as much as I love them) and tell them about "my" relationship to Jesus:
Let me teasingly turn the rhetoric around and declare with equal hollowness:
"How I changed the life of Jesus!!!!" 
For not only did "we" in my family change the life of Jesus - however blasphemous it sounds - but "we" even helped give him from early childhood the "poverty image" - the concern for the least and the oppressed - which speaks so deeply to my heart.

Yellow star   Let me take you on a tour 2000 years back in time and show you just how! Follow the Star of Bethlehem by clicking on this star - and on each of the following pages.

See also my family's correspondence with Jesus in which Jesus refuses to cure a sick member of my family on grounds of "acting on orders from higher up."
Though we killed both
John the Baptist and not long after Jesus - in addition to one of his disciples - the church fathers have nevertheless canonized countless members of my family as saints. Since sainthood apparently is hereditary rewarding - as you will see in my individual descriptions - a life lived in sin and violence, I have long ago started polishing my own glory!

5. hobby: To stay in touch with old friends
As a hitchhiker most of my time was spent visiting former friends - just as much of my traveling is today. Since they mean a lot to me it is an endless job to visit them - not least in prisons. Also I spend much time writing them. For the last 28 years my Danish friends have received Denmark's longest Christmas letters (they say) - often 40-50 pages.. 
To commemorate my many deceased and not least murdered friends I have now established
the first virtual cemetery. Now you can sit at your computer and visit them and even send them your own last words and flowers.   
It is also a demanding job to visit all my old girlfriends and keep track of their husbands and children. Right now I am struggling my way through an endless row of 25 year anniversaries.
Here you can see all of them - black, white, yellow, Indians, Jews etc. - in
a complete photo catalogue over my old girlfriends!

6. hobby: To set historic records "running down my country"
As the first person in history I have run all the way from the river Elbe in Germany across Denmark and Sweden to the gulf of Bothnia: see the map
At least it hasn't been done since the soldiers of king Carl Gustav X. walked dried shod across our frozen waters in 1658. For my record of 800 miles was simply not possible before the recent opening of two long bridges. In other words, the laziness of my youth -
hitchhiking - has today been replaced by 10-30 miles of unwinding running in my spare time and then it is only natural to put these stretches end to end when I as a lecturer I travel all over the country anyway. It is also my one-man-demonstration against the environmental damage I cause with all my car driving.  

7. hobby: World's greatest collector of e-mail jokes 
American friends constantly send me e-mail jokes. Here is a selection of everything from Clinton's sex life to how you best kill a republican - certainly not all politically correct or drawing-room. Remember that they are copyrighted under American Pictures, if you retell them.....well, that might be yet another joke on the Internet. 

My job 
Hm?......I think you better go to
American Pictures. 
If you think you know me by now, let's make friends.

With love 
Jacob Holdt


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