"Kissing ('Safer Sex' Series)," 2003
Richard Sawdon Smith
lambda print, 38" x 30"
From the artist: "'Kissing' is just one image from the six-part 'Safer Sex' series, with the other five becoming more sexually explicit," Sawdon Smith says. "On one level the images could be read, ironically, as saying the only safe sex is sex with yourself. While the series is intentionally humorous, it also touches on the fear of contamination and infection and the often isolating nature of an HIV diagnosis."
Why we chose this piece: This unique double-exposure print strongly re-creates the pervasive fear of the earliest days of the pandemic, when we were so afraid of exposing ourselves to the virus that we literally were afraid to even touch another human being -- much less progress to a level of intimacy.