Mike Brodie first made waves in the art world with his 2013 book, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, a collection of photographs made from 2006–2009 as he rode the rails with his youthful companions. The candid 35mm photographs captured the freedom and grit of their nomadic lifestyle, simultaneously romanticizing it and exposing its harsh realities. His latest book, Tones of Dirt and Bone [Twin Palms Publishers], features earlier photographs made from 2004–2006 with a Polaroid camera, the inspiration for his nickname, “The Polaroid Kidd.” The book features 50 four-color plates over 88 pages and a short essay Brodie wrote in 2006 about found objects and nostalgia.
The square-format photos cover the expanse of the United States, from Pennsylvania to Washington, California to Florida, and everywhere in between. The images are considerably softer than his 35mm work, and their muted, washed-out hues give the ten-year old images a vintage quality. Shot on expensive instant film that came 10 to a pack, each shot seems quieter and more deliberate than the wild adrenaline rush that the images in A Period of Juvenile Prosperity often evoked.
Brodie, who turns 30 this year, says he “no longer takes photographs,” and seems content to relegate photography to a hobby; he recently graduated from the Nashville Auto Diesel College, and works as a “mobile diesel mechanic,” operating out of his ’93 Dodge Ram. But he’s not completely finished with the art world; he exhibited images from Tones of Dirt and Bone at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles in March, and an exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City that ran through the beginning of May.
—Matthew Ismael Ruiz