Yesterday we launched the show of work of Toronto-bred photographer Naomi Harris. Her book America Swings is being releases from Taschen.
With the election only weeks away, I find Naomi’s work to be very important. America is enmeshed in a culture war, and sex is so often used a weapon in our culture. Women who “like sex” or look like they do are both reviled and elevated. Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears being the easiest examples. However, Harris has spent many years in the living rooms and backyards of Bible Belt America, discovering that despite all of the contrary rhetoric and ideas about the religious right, there is a complex and indeed sexually active segment of that population. Looking at her images, my NYC friends, even the most wild ones, seem pretty tame. But these issues continue to dominate our political process. Harris’s images, whatever you think of them, are brave, unflinching, and show her commitment to explore things most of us are afraid to even consider. And they suggest that the Blue State/Red State divide is more of an economic and class war, than a moral one.