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Baron by Harley Weir
Photography Harley Weir, art direction Jamie Reid

Harley Weir photographs the unsexy side of sex for new issue of Baron

The latest edition sees the photographer exploring sex in terms of functionality and transformation

Sexuality, functionality and transformation: these are the three things that Harley Weir expects you will see in the fifth edition of Baron. Aptly titled “Function”, it also features the work of Isabella Burley, Dazed Editor-in-Chief, Alison Webster, Page 3 photographer, and Jason Wolfman, performance artist.

The photographer explains, “I wanted to look at both the sexy and the unsexy. To question the all-encompassing nature of sex and to explore how we transform our bodies for it, and are also transformed by it, through the products of sex, birth and biology. ‘Function’ is a mix of many questions, all streaming from here and ending in questions of existence.”

Under no illusion that sexuality is ever one-dimensional, Weir came to appreciate this multifaceted experience first-hand during production: “I photographed a live birth and that certainly changed my perceptions. I watched certain body parts go from points of pleasure and/or ornaments to functionalities – it was quite something. Nothing like the aliens eating their way out of corpses – an image I had once married with childbirth. It all looked so natural, so beautiful and so… ordinary. Before making this issue of Baron, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to bring someone else into this world. This was mostly down to a pretty cynical point of view, but now I am definitely up for it, and that’s quite a revelation for me.”

“I wanted to look at both the sexy and the unsexy... to explore how we transform our bodies for it, and are also transformed by it” – Harley Weir

Known for tackling topics of sexuality, the gaze and social taboos, Weir’s photos are there to catch you off-guard, to push you to the boundaries where intimacy and vulgarity amalgamate to form an honest image. She turns to the limited edition Helmut Lang imagery, that is featured exclusively in this issue as a point of reference: “There is an image of a white horse with a midi-erection. I like how it takes us back to a more primal view of our bodies, as an organ over a glossed and waxed image of what we have come to know our genitals are.”

At the same time, “Function” is not only about the physical body. It is also an opportunity for Weir to dismantle gender differentiations: “My point of view will always be feminine because I have a vagina and that’s just how people see things. Men don’t often get labelled for representing what is masculine – masculine tastes are almost neutral. I was brought up to desire the pink dress – so that element will likely always be present and niche, until it is okay for men to desire these things too. If men felt more comfortable with their femininity, and women learned to be more open to their masculinity, it wouldn’t be so obvious. Until then, I’m happy to continue representing the legend of femininity.”

Pre-order the fifth edition of Baron here before it’s released in stores in March