Living the life of the tramp in order to understand the motivation, the character, the speech, the ills of that way of life, and perhaps some strange inner beauty or freedom living within, that is exactly what Douglas Harper did.
Harper’s own photographs tell us even more about himself than about the subject matter. As a detached observer, but also intimately involved at times, the photos are reminiscent of the Works Projects Administration (WPA) photography of the 1930’s, and show us aspects of hobo life and its language, transplanted in the seventies.
It is a vanishing way of life and vanishing culture, but not a lost story of diminishing societal ills, this book ages well from a social point of view. It is about an American story, but could have taken place in other countries in the seventies as well. A highly recommended 1982 documentary in the form of a “photo book” if you will and still in print in its third edition.