Photographer Mark Brodie spent 10 years traveling 50,000 miles in 46 states by hopping on more than 170 freight trains ... and lived to tell the tale. His photo series, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, is on display at the Yossi Milo gallery:
Brodie began traveling the railways in 2002 at the age of 17. Unannounced, he left his house with only a few personal belongings. Brodie returned home days later, 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 camera. “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; 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.