Globalization seems to have made modern countries less unique — resulting in a single world community. We wear the same clothes, eat the same foods, use the same iPhones, we are all interconnected. EUSA is a reaction to this homogenization of European and American cultures through the portrayal of American-themed places around Europe and European-themed places in the United States.
In America these “European” venues resemble a land of make-believe. Like something out of a fairy tale, they are magical, whimsical, and quaint. Buildings draped in ginger-bread and weathervanes. In Europe, these “American” locations resemble a movie set from a 1960s Spaghetti Western; in reality, many of these locations actually are created from old movie sets.
These locations become a sentimental and idealized depiction; an homage to a heritage that isn’t accurate. I visited these theme towns, amusement parks, and festivals photographing this fantasy.
Canadian born Naomi Harris is primarily a portrait photographer who seeks out interesting cultural trends to document through her subjects. Personal projects include “Haddon Hall,” in which she documented the lives of the last remaining elderly residents at a hotel in South Beach. For this work she received the 2001 International Prize for Young Photojournalism from Agfa/ Das Bildforum, honorable mention for the Yann Geffroy Award, and was a W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography finalist.
For her next project “America Swings,” she documented the phenomenon of swinging over the course of 5 years (from 2003 to 2008) all over the United States. This project was realized in her first monograph America Swings released by Taschen in 2008 as a limited collectors edition, and again in 2010 as a trade edition. Artist Richard Prince interviewed Ms. Harris for the book and it was edited by Dian Hanson.
She recently completed “EUSA” which is a reaction to the homogenization of European and American cultures through globalization and is releasing a book by the same title in 2017.
Other accolades include being awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Photography in 2013, a Long-Term Career Advancement Grant from the Canada Council in 2012 and participating in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2004.
In June 2012 after living in New York for 15 years she decided to leave and live in her car traveling around America with her dog Maggie in preparation of becoming a US citizen, which she did in August 2013. She currently resides in Los Angeles but returns to her homeland of Canada often to continue working on her project “Oh Canada.”