Lyle Ashton Harris: Excessive Exposure
Excessive Exposure documents all the chocolate-colored portraits that Bronx-born artist Lyle Ashton Harris made with a large-format Polaroid camera over the course of a decade. This sequence of approximately 200 paired front and back portraits, for which Harris has gained wide acclaim, came to a close with this book, making Excessive Exposure the complete and definitive documentation of this monumental series.
The portraits’ subjects include Harris’s family and friends, art-world personalities, noted cultural figures, celebrities and politicians. These images are further distinguished by a strategic blurring of conventional gender roles, sexual identities and racial categories, and by a refined use of light and shade. Okwui Enwezor contributes an essay analyzing Harris’s portraits, situating these works in the context of the artist’s overall practice and varied output, as well as in the broader history of the genre. The book also includes a conversation between Harris and artist Chuck Close that took place in 1999, when Harris was beginning the series. With a penetrating foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Excessive Exposure offers a wealth of superb portraiture and is a touchstone volume among photo-books.