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Digital Diaries [Hardcover]

Natacha Merritt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Mar 2000 Taschen's photobooks
Anyone who has seen her Digital Diaries has intimate knowledge of Natacha Merritt. And of her Friends, male and female, and her acquaintances as well. But Merritt's favourite motif is herself: she poses almost every minute of the day for her camera, taking photographs of herself in bed, in the shower, having sex with her friend, masturbating with and without accessories, from every imaginable angle and with the camera usually at arm's length. Merritt, born 1977, works with a digital camera, the Polaroid of the 90s, breaking down the most intimate details into universally accessible bits of information. Eric Kroll came across Natacha Merritt by chance in the internet, where she had put several of her photographs. This was something that left the tradition of classical pin-up and fetish photography, in which Kroll himself works, far behind. Face to face with Merritt's photographs one can reflect on intimacy and publicity in the digital age, on narcissism even, or on radical self-exploration with the help of the camera. But this all sounds better as Natacha Merritt herself puts it: in her view, she has found a new mode of masturbating her way into the next millennium.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen GmbH (31 Mar 2000)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 382286398X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822863985
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding imagery 21 Jun 2000
One womans journey through the exploration of her sexuality in digital pictures. All the images, given the context of the artists objective in illustrating her voyage of sexual freedom and discovery, acn't fail to make vivid imprints on the readers mind. The pictures are erotic, provocative and more importantly, thought provoking. To be preent in the intimacy of her private life is a priviledge, and the beauty of the sexual act has never been better illustrated in my opinion.
A beautiful book, and essential for people who appreciate that art and life are inextricably linked. And that peoples sexuality is a beautiful act which can be visually powerful.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely artful and surprisingly thoughtful 4 Aug 2001
This is a visual diary of the sexual journey of a 21-year-old, Natacha. The photographs are surprisingly elegant: often sexy, but also raw and unsettling as well. There is an emotional expressiveness which runs through the book, along with symbolism, humour and maybe even political comment. Artful and thought-provoking.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with a good view! 9 Jan 2001
By A Customer
a great book, showing aspects of personal life that have never been seen in a personal dairy- fantastic
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7 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What I dream, what I see and how I see it" 1 April 2000
By A Customer
These words are what keep coming up in my mind over and over again.
For someone who has no idea how I work or think or am related to this world (our world), would have no idea how to describie or explain me.
This book seems to have opened a chapter in that diary, that describes me.
It is a book that allows you to peep into someones time. The time that only the self is allowed to see.
Images that I have thought of in my head, have now become visual, shall I be thankful or annoyed.
I can only smile ...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Are You Through, Yet? 25 April 2000
By Tom Rand - Published on
Natacha Merritt's "Digital Diaries" is a one-dimensional tour de force, made possible by the following truism: Sex Sells. Where there is attention to detail and photographic aesthetics in the sexually driven works of other more competent photographers, such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin, Merritt's attention is only focused on naked people copulating and/or masturbating. "Digital Diaries" was published with the sole intent of selling sex, not photography. This is obvious. This is also (and only) why curious viewers will buy the book. The author and her acquaintances are interesting only because their clothes are off. Unlike Nan Goldin's book, "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency", we don't care or think about the people portrayed in "Digital Diaries"; we simply look at them. Therein lies Merritt's lack of depth as a photographer and visual storyteller. Not only obsessed with the need to get her point across visually, "Digital Diaries" also includes musings by the author about...what else, sex. By the end of "Digital Diaries" one can only hope twenty-two year old Merritt outgrows this teenage fascination with sex and self-absorption and finds another hobby.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as cool as the shiny metal cover 19 Sep 2000
By Jonathan J. Casey - Published on
It's unfair and ridiculous to brand this book as a youth culture failure. I can think of quite a few older phtographers who get a lot more silly and self-indulgent than Merritt. On the other hand, it's not a success. Introduced to this book in the pages of "Erotica" magazine (which featured the Eric Kroll interview reprinted in this collection), I was very attracted to the intimacy of the photography and what seemed like a candid atmosphere. It isn't quite that. In fact, while it purports to be a journalistic account of her sex life, much of the photography is centered on her face. And while I admit she has a fine face, and it's everyone's right to take a lot of pictures of themselves, this gets old after a few dozen shots. When her male lovers do appear it is usually in the form of a strangely disembodied sex organ, often wrapped in rope. Unlike a lot of other erotic photography, this is neither a catalogue of fetishes nor a celebration of the human body. There's certainly some beauty within these pages, and some very erotic photographs, but there's a lot of "filler" as far as I'm concerned: not terribly arousing but not all that artistic, either. I certainly don't discount her work, I think the digital photography medium can exist without fighting for legitmacy, but she's got some work to do. The text in particular doesn't seem all that honest or revealing, and I figure if you're going to take it this far you might as well go all the way. There's an ugly growing trend of false self-disclosure in our society right now ("reality" TV, JennyCam, etc.) and while I wouldn't fault Merritt she is veering dangerously in that direction. The book doesn't live up to its name, but it has some bright points. I could've lived with the highlights in my magazine, though I'm looking forward to seeing some future work by Merritt.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly touching at points, with artistic intent. 26 May 2000
By D. Mok - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Though it'd be easy to lump Natacha Merritt with the rest of the webcam/internet exhibitionists, it took only one examination of this book to make me see otherwise in Merritt's digital photography.
With a maverick's audacity and technical disregard (one interviewer made the humorous remark that Merritt "can't tell an f-stop from a bus stop"), Merritt has somehow managed to discover a visual style all her own that fuses strange angles, simple lighting, unusual placement of her subjects, and introspection into one. The more explicit photos oftimes threaten to de-humanize Merritt herself and her subjects, but those are counterbalanced by some very tasteful, evocative shots that convey the subjects' internal drama.
Merritt makes a better subject than any other person in this book for her own camera. It doesn't hurt that she's gorgeous, but she has two things to her advantage: Expressive eyes, and the unique dynamic of photographer-as-subject. Is she simultaneously empowered and scrutinized by the camera? How often does she know what exactly the image looks like? And which photos are staged? Which ones are taken as a fly-on-the-wall snapshot? Merritt is always interesting as her own subject, and it is telling that the best set of pictures in this book, the "self search" series, focus much less on sexual acts than on self-discovery, examination, and Merritt's relationship to the camera and to her own body. Most of these are close-ups from wildly imaginative angles, shadowy, and intriguing -- the crowning picture is Merritt looking at her own hand in a mirror, contemplating. These pictures tell many stories about the young woman both in front of and behind the camera, and they're beautiful and revealing in a way far beyond the sexually explicit pictures. Most of those do manage to achieve a degree of honesty and spontaneity as well, making them erotically charged.
Accusations of narcissism can't be avoided and Merritt can probably be said to be guilty of it sometimes. But what she produces from her unique work methods is so intriguing, and her revelation of herself as photographer (a rarity in photography) so far-reaching, that this book remains a great fascination. It'd be a shame if it were to be lumped with the usual erotic photography and exhibitionistic endeavours. Digital Diaries has much more to offer.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A raw and honest look into a young woman's sexuality 4 Aug 2004
By A. Sandoc - Published on
Natacha Merritt's Digital Diaries is less an art book of nude photos than a raw and honest look --- some would say peek --- into a young woman's sexuality. It is not just a look, but a visual documentation of sexual experimentation including both a casual sexual situations and more fetishist imagery.

Digital Diaries is also very sexy just like its author-photographer. Natacha doesn't convey a shy personality, but actually comes off as a very liberated and aggressive young woman. Her book is not for everyone and certainly not for someone who doesn't have an open mind. Those who are willing to explore the many faces of sexuality, they can't go wrong by acquiring Ms. Merritt's Digital Diaries.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't over-analyse 2 Nov 2000
By A Customer - Published on
If you can prevent yourself from over-analysing this work, as so many critics do, you will hopefully see it, and accept it, for what it is. Obviously, you can take or leave the text; if you want a novel, you will buy one - not a book full of explicit photography. The photos themselves are wonderful. They are just SO REAL! I actually felt that I was present at these scenes; as though I was actually looking through the lens, or even just my own eyes. The flesh is so real and warm-looking. The pictures emanate sex and flesh and fun in the most exquisite proportions. They made me smile with understanding. This work is life, not art. Treat it as such.
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