Monday, 19 December 2011

HATE: Natacha Merritt

Natacha Merrit, 'Ask me Anything,' Feb 2000

Digital Diaries (2001)

why YOU should hate Natacha Merritt...

One should really question the integrity and creditability of Taschen, having published Digital Girly's (Merritt's psuedonym) daily photos in Digital Dairies (2001). The only comment they have of Merrit's work is her use of the digital camera as a point of interest to denote the mark of technology in the participation of exploring identity.

I'm sure they also though highly of her assets to the medium of photography.

It is obvious that the photographer in question has no formal arts background, her work is akin to that of any number of girls posing and posting pictures on Facebook. Her unsuccessful attempts to de-construct the feminine archetypes is laughable, Merrit’s ‘celebration’ of female sexuality and the naturalness of sexual desire is easily criticised when we consider the preparation required to make the images: her models require release forms to be signed beforehand, the intimate use of the camera requires precise framing and the use of specifically chosen seductive lighting heightens the sensual atmosphere; with both Merrit and her model knowing that they will be viewed and an image will be created, genuine enjoyment or exploration of female sexuality is anticipated and becomes artificially created - under this guise they become no less directed or staged than pornography.

Praised as a ‘contemporary counterpart’[1] to Anaïs Nin[2] by capturing erotic desires and uninhibited sexuality in her self-portraits published online, Merritt explicitly exposes her sexuality and body as a commodity. One could argue that Merritt is in the forefront in the war on a sexually-charged, exaggerated hypersexuality but Merritt indulges in this explicit, exhibitionism - she's an attention whore.

And this is where my attention wanes.

I'm bored Merritt - you don't shock me, and sadly, you don't turn me on either.

[1] Maxim Jakubowski, The eyes of the beholder, The Guardian, 6 May 2000

[2] Anais Nin is considered the founder of female pornography, writing explicit stories and diaries about female-specific sexual desires and awakenings.

[3] Wim de Jong, Hester Scheurwater, January 20th 2011, Volkskrant Magazine, translated from Dutch,

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