Mike Brodie

A period of juvenile prosperity

Almost from the beginning of the railways, there have been people who have travelled on them illegally. Some historians cite the end of the American Civil War as the origin of this practice, as soldiers, often helpless, jumped onto freight trains to return home. Financial crises and economic disasters also precipitate the movement: the homeless traveled on trains in search of work after the Panic of 1893 and during the Great Depression. However, the reasons for traveling by train are not always so simple. Long before the car and motorways, riding in a coach without a ticket promised escape and redemption.

Here, on the margins of society, it was possible to break rules and conventions, or at least avoid facing them regularly. Traveling on a freight train, uninvited, is a small rebellion, and it may not be surprising that photographer Mike Brodie has called his project documenting 21st century train commuters “A period of youth prosperity”. Here’s the irony: In the 21st century, American railways are increasingly remote from the public, increasingly protected by fences, cameras and security guards.

Despite this, these highly regimented transport companies remain an illegal haven for many. A vibrant culture that rejects authority still finds its home in a system that is based on the principle of authority.


With the collaboration of Fujifilm and HP

Blanca Berlin

Mike Brodie, known by the nickname “Polaroid Kidd”, was born on April 5, 1985 in the United States, in the city of Mesa, in the state of Arizona. Brodie began traveling on trains in 2002 at the age of 17, where he fell in love with the culture they called “train-hopping”. It was in 2004 when a friend gave him a Polaroid camera, and he began to photograph his travels without the pretense of becoming an artist. Brodie traveled 200,000 miles by train across the United States while accumulating photographs over the next four years taken with a Nikon F3, thus creating a self-taught collection of US travel.

It was in 2008 when he received the Baum Prize for emerging artists of America, later publishing the book “A Period of Juvenile Prosperity” with photographs taken during those years, being one of the best photobooks of 2013 and also made different exhibitions. He never gave up his love of photography, but paused to work as a diesel mechanic and truck driver, being a worker, traveler and splendid photographer who will exhibit for the first time in Spain, at the festival Revela’t.