At the tender age of 21, Mike Brodie has been crisscrossing the country from his home base of Pensacola, Fla., and taking by turns romantic, sexy, tender, poignant, disturbing portraits of the young men and women -- and old-timers too -- who ride the rails. This modern-day bohemia finds its ideal witness in "The Polaroid Kid" (aka Brodie) whose work is on view through March 10 at Get This! Gallery in Castleberry Hill.
What's the most fun about hopping trains?
Seeing new stuff every day.
What's the biggest danger?
Your stereotypical getting raped and murdered, getting run over by a train, getting stabbed by a crackhead.
Is being an artist what you think about doing in the future?
Yeah, I want to work on these photos until my dad gets out of jail in 2011. And I'm just looking forward to that. He's going to ride trains with me, cause he's this wild-ass dude. I have to have something to look forward to, to keep me going.
Do you feel there's something beautiful in the people you photograph?
Definitely. It's like the most beautiful shit on the Earth to me. I can't get people out of my head. I'll meet someone for one second and be totally obsessed with them. I think they're the most important people. That's why I'm glad they're my friends more than just people I photograph.
Is it true the majority of the older men are Vietnam vets?
Yeah, it's funny. I feel like 90 percent of the older dudes I've met riding trains have been in Vietnam.