Naomi White

The Erotic As Power

“The Erotic flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience.” - Audrey Lorde

In her seminal essay, The Erotic As Power, Audrey Lorde talks about the way the erotic made generations of people feel a mistrust and shame in their bodies, when its true meaning is about love and connection through a heightening of the senses. Being in touch with the body puts us in touch with the earth, the water, the air. I represented this heightened awareness by photographing textures, thinking about touch as a healing energy we all posses, weaving these images into old, erotic photographs from the 1850’s - 1900s and then returning them to the color darkroom to make traditional Chromogenic prints.

Thinking about the erotic as a way to be more present, more generous with myself, my work, my family, my community, expands my sense of time and widens the possibilities of futures yet unwritten.

I was inspired to explore these themes by a confluence of important influences: by the artist and educator Vonna Varnado @arijino.artistry at a collage workshop in New Orleans; by collages, lectures and workshops with the vibrant artist Suné Woods @constellation_matters; by the collage magazine Cut Me Up @cutmeupmagazine, originated by Andrea Burgay @andreaburgay; and by her visiting editor Allan Beale @allan.bealy’s call to explore the realm of eroticism.

Special thank you to my student Gabriel Acosta @g.acosta.journal who assisted me in returning the collages into a photographic form, and to fellow faculty at NYFA and owner of The School of Light, Andrew Hall @andrewhalleditions, for sharing his vast knowledge of the darkroom. 

Featured on the cover of Issue 12 Cut Me Up Magazine, 2024

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