Canadian portrait photographer Naomi Harris seeks out interesting cultural trends through her subjects. For her project “The First 100 days,” she drove across the United States, to turn a sharp eye on the American electorate and the disenfranchised voter.
“On January 20th, the day of Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, I set out on a nationwide road trip to coincide with his first 100 Days. The idea was to figure out, when the polls and the media all said Hillary Clinton was going to win, how did we end up with Trump as president instead. I drove around the country, talking and photographing a variety of people affiliated with both the Democratic and the Republican parties as well as those who didn’t vote, or couldn’t vote. Clocking approximately 19,000 miles, my drive included Washington, D.C. to Palm Beach, Fla., Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, a portion of the Mexican border, northern California, the Bible and Rust Belts, ending with day 100, April 29th, in Niagara Falls, NY.”
In addition to “The First 100 Days,” Naomi Harris photographed “Haddon Hall,” the last remaining elderly residents at a hotel in Miami’s South Beach. Harris spent five years (2003-08) depicting the nationwide phenomenon of swinging in “With America Swings.” The project became a Taschen monograph released in both collectors’ and trade editions. Her book “E.U.S.A.,” a reaction to the homogenization of European and American cultures through globalization, will be published in late 2017 by Kehrer Verlag.
Her numerous awards include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography in 2013, a Long-Term Career Advancement Grant from the Canada Council in 2012, the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2004, and the 2001 International Prize for Young Photojournalism from Agfa/Das Bildforum. In April 2017, she was a recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts “New Chapter” Grant, for which she’ll canoe the fur trader’s route in Ontario for 10 weeks in the summer of 2018.
“The First 100 Days” by Naomi Harris print exhibit opening and talk moderated by Vice photo editor Elizabeth Renstrom is July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Half King in NYC, part of the Half King Photo Series, on view through Aug. 21.
Richard Toll Ward, Ariz., March 9, 2017
“I had just finished driving through the Gila National Forest, a beautiful, windy road, and was going along the 191 in Arizona when I noticed a man off in the distance working in his yard. The fact that he was wearing nothing but sneakers, a sun hat, and a G-string definitely caught my eye. I pulled over and honked my horn a few times to get his attention. Richard Toll Ward came to the gate and let me in. We had a nice little visit during which he told me he was a Vietnam vet and that he voted for ‘Hillarity,’ and then he let me photograph him. I left there with two loaves of delicious homemade sourdough bread with olives in it!”
(Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Lessley Laidler, Pahokee, Fla., Feb. 5, 2017
“Lessley Laidler didn’t vote because he is a felon. In the last election 1.5 million Floridians, or 10 percent of the population, could not vote because of felony disenfranchisement; within the black community it’s even higher, with nearly a quarter of black residents of the state not being permitted to vote. Laidler lives in Pahokee, one of the poorest cities in America. It’s located in Palm Beach County, the same county where Mar-a-Lago, or the ‘Winter White House,’ is located.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Christian Calvin Moffitt, Cross City, Fla., Feb. 2, 2017
“Born-again Christian Calvin Moffitt and his dog Shakira live in Cross City, Fla. Although he has a Trump-Pence bumper sticker on his tricycle, he couldn’t vote because he’s a convicted felon. At the time he told me he hoped they wouldn’t repeal Obamacare as he is dependent on it and not old enough for Medicare just yet.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Graciella Longoria, Houston, Texas, Feb. 14, 2017
“Graciella Longoria is a Mexican-American albino. People often mistake her for Caucasian and are very surprised when she begins speaking fluent Spanish. She was a big Bernie supporter, but when push came to shove, she voted for Hillary.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Alicia and Allen Alejandro, Chapeno, Texas, Feb. 28, 2017
“Alicia and Allen Alejandro, newlyweds in their 20s, play hooky at an abandoned trailer park on the bank of the Rio Grande. They told me that sometimes the cartel have gunfights right here at this very spot. They supported Clinton.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Katelyn Brommel, Austin, Texas, Feb. 18, 2017
“Katelyn Brommel is one of the 6.1 million Americans unable to vote because of felony disenfranchisement. ‘If I would have voted, I would have voted independently, as in not for Hillary or for Trump. But I would have definitely chose Hillary over Trump.'” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Roger Frederick, Kansas City, Mo., March 26, 2017
“Roger Frederick, is a member of Overpasses for America, ‘a nonpartisan’ grassroots movement that values the U.S. Constitution and seeks to have government-elected officials represent its values. On this day, the group was voicing support for the president. He isn’t shy about whom he voted for.”
(Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Jessi Bergkvist, Pie Town, N.M., March 8, 2017
“Jessi Bergkvist, 26, is a single mother with three daughters, all under the age of 4. She’s proud to raise them all on her own. She works odd jobs and cleans houses. She voted for Trump.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
James Watson, left, and Jeremiah Perry, Ferguson, Mo., March 27, 2017
“James Watson and Jeremiah Perry, both lifelong Republicans, sit in Perry’s new car outside the liquor store where Michael Brown was last seen. They both agreed that had a woman been running on the Republican ticket, they wouldn’t have voted for her. (They wouldn’t, in fact, vote for a woman period.) They were for Trump.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Lilly Elkin, Memphis, Tenn., April 1, 2017
“Lilly Elkin, a graduate-school student studying environmental biology, stands in Overland Park with her pet snakes Eago and Cleo. She is skeptical about parts of the global warming debate. She voted for Trump.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)
Susan and Wayne Byrd, Danville, Va., April 15, 2017
“Wayne Byrd, president of the Heritage Preservation Association, and his wife, Susan. The group gathers every Saturday outside the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History to protest its removal of the Third National Flag of the Confederacy, a gift from the association. They voted for Trump.” (Photograph and caption by Naomi Harris)