In her new book, EUSA, Canadian photographer Naomi Harris documents American-themed places in Europe and European-themed places in America. Confused yet? Keep reading...
Since 2008, Harris has travelled between the US and Europe to illustrate how globalisation has made the uniqueness of each country less significant, creating an indistinguishable common world community.
In total, she has travelled to 27 locations across ten countries, after beginning the project nearly ten years ago in High Chaparral, a wild-west theme park in southern Sweden. Harris then travelled to Maifests in Washington state, cowboy and Indian amusement parks in Germany, France, Italy and the Canary Islands, a Dutch tulip celebration in Iowa, a Rockabilly festival in Hungary, a Viking gathering in Alaska and a Civil War Re-enactment in the Czech Republic.
In the US, these "European" venues resemble a land of make-believe, like something out of a fairy-tale. They are magical, whimsical and quaint and the attendees are paying tribute to their ancestry and origins. In Europe, these American-themed amusement parks and festivals reveal an ongoing enthusiasm for a mythologised 'America' of the past, when the US was considered glorious and free, with Cowboys and Indians roaming the wide-open plains just like in the movies. The foundation of these locations was to honour the 'other', but what was once characteristic has now ultimately become a caricature.
Harris said: "Being enthralled by another country's way of life does not mean that it is always an accurate portrayal, rather it becomes a sentimental and idealised depiction; a homage to a heritage that isn't ones’ own. These locations are a perception of fantasy, a sense of what the other wishes the reality would be; a reaction to the homogenisation of European and American cultures."
The book has been designed by Dutch book designer Teun van der Heijden and is published by German publisher Kehrer Verlag. You can purchase a copy here. And see more from Naomi Harris at naomiharris.com.