Mike Brodie is easy to mythologize. A teenager-turned-supertramp (a term usually used to describe youth eager to travel by whatever means and for as little money as possible) Brodie became a darling of the photography world after carting an old Polaroid SX-70 and some stale bagels on his first train-hopping experience across the United States.

Starting in 2004, at age 17, Brodie rode the rails year after year, logging more than 50,000 miles and traversing 46 states. He would eventually switch from Polaroid to traditional 35-mm film, but Brodie continued to document the lives of squatters, hobos, and the country’s youth in search of adventure. What struck many critics was the spirit of his photography —unfiltered and without a pedigree in the field, Brodie simply enjoyed taking photographs.

“I just took photos of my life,” he told The New Yorker.

There he said it wasn’t the photography that kept him on the road, it was the adventure, the world ‘out there.’

“I had a lot of curiosity about the world and wanted to go travel. It was an addiction,” he told Fader. “Photography turned out to be something that just happened naturally for me.”

Brodie has published two books of his adventures, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity and Tonnes and Dirt and Bone.

Be sure to check out more of Mike’s work here.


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