Mike Brodie began riding the railways in 2002 at the age of 17. Unannounced, he lit out from home on night with only a handful of personal belongings. By the time he returned a few days later, he was a young man 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. “A friend gave me a Polaroid camera I found on the back seat of her car. I took a photo of the handlebars of my BMX bike and it looked incredible, so I kept taking pictures, it was that simple.” From 2004-2006, Brodie shot exclusively on Polaroid film, earning him the moniker the Polaroid Kidd (sic)–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. “I know almost everyone I shoot,” Brodie states, “three of the women in the book are ex-girlfriends and a couple of the guys…are best friends.” 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.
– Excerpt from the press release announcing Brodie’s exhibition “A Period of Juvenile Prosperity” at Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC (March 7-April 6, 2013)