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A Period of Juvenile Prosperity Hardcover – March 1, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

Brodie's pictures have the day-to-day intimacy and immediacy of a journal, but the journey they describe has a clear narrative, even if the route is irrelevant. His photographs were done incidentally, with no artistic aim in view, just as the journeys were made for their own sake, rather than with the idea of making it to California, say, or the Museum of Modern Art. Maybe the experiences of riding the rails created a rhythm of seeing that took the place of years of sedentary visual training. If the hurtling convergences and diverging geometries--of track and limb--seem accidental, that is a sign of precariosly appropriate mastery. --Geoff Dyer

About the Author

Brodie s first recognition as a photographer came when in 2008, unbeknownst to him, his work was submitted to and then received the Baum Award for An Emerging American Photographer; this lead to a growing awareness of his work. Unfazed by this initial success and having never fully identified as a photographer Brodie chose to remain untethered to the expectations of the art market. Brodie recently graduated from the Nashville Auto-Diesel College (NADC) and is now working as a mobile mechanic in his silver '93 Dodge Ram truck.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Twin Palms Publishers; Third edition (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936611023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936611027
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Cooley on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting book. Must say I ordered it on a whim and am not disappointed. Wish it was a little longer, but the photos are all great. Very youthful, but with a certain oldness to them. It's almost like looking at a book from the heyday of railroad jumping (like the 40s or 50s). Overall the book is beautifully produced and the photos are wonderful. You can tell the photographer is self taught and not afraid of trying different styles out.

Laid out one photo per page, with one blank (white) facing page so you are able to really focus each photo as a singular piece of art.
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I believe this is one of those books that gathers steam and importance over time. An important document pieced together with a true artistic eye. I expect there will be more to come from this talented photographer/documentarian.
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Mike Brodie's discovery and overnight success in the art world reminds me of how Vivian Maier shot to fame. Unlike her, however, Mike Brodie is still very much alive. This book is a revelation, albeit a rather brief one. The images are raw and immediate, with a deep compassion for their subjects and a natural feel for composition. The fact that Brodie had no formal training in photography makes them all the more remarkable. I just wish there were many more that could have been included in this thin volume. It's also a great pity that Mr. Brodie has hung up his camera with no plans to continue photographing. But I'm grateful that we have these, at least. And who knows? He's still young. Someday he might return to the craft. In any event, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who admires great photography.
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Format: Hardcover
The importance of these photographs will grow with time, I have no doubt.

Brodie's photography is certainly polarizing,,, whether you love or hate the images in this book,,, you will spend hours loving or hating them,,, not minutes,,,,this is not a tome one simply browses and then abandons to a bookshelf.

Many of us 'lesser' photographers take hope and feel a kinship with Brodie because he would be the first to deny the title of 'professional photographer',, and indeed, he abandoned his Nikon for a career as a Diesel Mechanic upon completion of his travels.

I can't help but lament that we'll never experience the images a 'professional' Mike Brodie might have unleashed on the world.
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America is unique in that it is a big land that is also very accessible. There are no formalities, no permits, no passports -- you can point somewhere and go, and keep going. Most people do this by common transport, like passenger trains, planes and cars. But some actually make the road their home. What Mike Brodie calls "freighthoppers" are traditionally called hobos; and, from what I take away from Brodie's images and words, hobos haven't changed much from their heyday, as evoked by Harold Lincoln Uys, in his Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression. Today's hobos are largely youths on the go for largely the same reasons as their predecessors: they are runaways or adventurers. Hoboing is also a function of economics. During the Great Depression, families became impoverished, and elder sons left, not only to seek their fortunes but to ease the burden at home. Brodie's tour covers the era leading up to today's Great Recession. "Prosperity" in the book's title is a trenchant choice indeed.

The difference between a hobo and a traveler? A traveler has money. What struck me about Brodie's subject was their almost unrelenting filth. In Europe there are public facilities -- usually at central train stations -- for travelers to clean up without having to check into a room. Not so in America. So I attribute the filth simply to the fact there's simply no place to wash, if you barely have enough in your pocket to eat.
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Format: Hardcover
I am old enough to have hopped narrow gauge freights in revenue service, and although it was then and is now thoroughly illegal it was one helluva summer. There are things from that summer that live in my memory, like one hot summer day in a boxcar, drinking cheap beer and watching the world roll by, that I would not trade for any amount of wealth. The characters you meet in Mike Brodie's book are much like the characters I met while on the road - some thoroughly likeable, some out there, some...well...Even now I wonder what happened to them, and I wonder what in hell ever happened to me that I wound up some kind of hard working respectable pillar of society.

But as a kid it was great fun and if you don't do something like this at least once in life you will exist but will never have lived.

Having said that there is something I must say about freight hopping. I rode mostly a narrow gauge system with older equipment and it didn't move very fast and stopped frequently. Nonetheless it could kill you if you weren't careful. Trains these days move a lot faster than they did when I was a kid, have fewer places to ride, and on the whole are much more dangerous than the freights I hopped. Not to mention, neither the railroad employees nor the police are as forgiving as they were when I was doing it. Read the book, dream, take a stroll down memory lane if you were there then, but don't do it any more (or at all).
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