Photographs by Naomi Harris. Edited by Dian Hanson. Interview by Richard Prince.
Taschen, Los Angeles, 2009. 256 pp., Numerous color illustrations, 14½x11½".
Naomi Harris's subjects are not the usual perfected androids who populate contemporary erotica, but ordinary people with extraordinary sex lives; this book explores a rarely-seen side of sex in America. This edition is limited to 1,000 numbered copies, signed by both Naomi Harris and Richard Prince. The cover features a four-color, silk screened, 3-dimensional stamped metal reproduction of a classic American motel sign, specially conceived and created for this edition.
Richard Prince discovered Naomi Harris in TASCHEN's The New Erotic Photography and was so intrigued by her photos of American swingers that he tracked down the 34-year-old New Yorker, determined to make her his protégé.
When he discovered TASCHEN had signed her to do America Swings he asked to do an interview with her, where he reveals part of what makes her work so unique: 'When I look at one of your swinger photos what I'm looking at is mostly you ‘outside' the picture looking at what you're photographing … half-naked, all naked, taking these photos of next-door neighbors having sex …”
He refers to Harris's secret for winning the confidence of her subjects: To penetrate the world of middle class mate-swapping she had to join them, often working in just shoes and a tool belt to hold her camera gear. Her extreme technique worked so well that in 48 months she was able to photograph 38 parties, crisscrossing the country from Mahwah, New Jersey, to Pleasanton, California; from Big Lake, Minnesota, to Washington, Texas. Her subjects are not the usual perfected androids who populate contemporary erotica, but ordinary people with extraordinary sex lives, including multi-orgasmic schoolteachers, polyamorous nurses, bi-sexual senior citizens and the Mandingos, a group of African-American men who service white wives.
Stunningly photographed and surprisingly sexy, Richard Prince describes Harris's America Swings as 'something that's gloriously alternative, that isn't rentable, that can't be downloaded, that's uninhibited and filled with a sense of strange joy. Almost like a J.G. Ballard theme park for sex.”
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