Neu Sex is a book of art photos of author Sasha Grey interspersed with a few essays. Two things motivated me to get this book. On the one hand, I am fascinated by phenomena like Asia Carrera and Bobbi Starr who seem to break the backstory mold we have come to expect from the industry, while on the other I have always failed to "get" the big deal over Sasha Grey. Plus, the book has sort of been advertised as a behind-the-scenes look at the industry by an insider with a camera. How does the book deliver on my interests, and how are the photos?
The story that people like to tell themselves about the industry is that the actresses are unhappy girls without any skills to support themselves who do things they don't like in order to get attention and drugs. Actresses like Carrera and Starr seem to break the mold, inasmuch as they had other viable options that were clear to them. Is Grey, who Oscar-winning director Soderbergh describes as being not of the typical industry mold, another Carrera or Starr? Based on this book, not apparently. Grey much more conforms to the broken home/no skills story. The photos and essays in this book range from the uneducated mundane to the educated mundane, but they don't really have anything to tell us. There is not a budding artist or philosopher here. The gushing over Grey by reviewers and industry insiders has always been lost on me when confronted with the final product, and I feel the same about this book.
Is the book a behind-the-scenes look at the industry by an insider with a camera? No, not at all. They are a few shots of Grey on-set, but the majority are simply portraits of Grey. I was expecting photographs BY Grey that would show how she sees the world.Read more ›
What happens when narcissism and incompetence get together and make a photo album? You get Sasha Grey's "Neü Sex."
I was browsing the photography section at my local bookstore when I found a copy of "Neü Sex." My understanding of the book is that it's meant to be porn star Marina Ann Hantzis' (or Sasha Grey's) foray into the world of photojournalism, chronicling the day-to-day life of a porn star. I was expecting a behind the scenes journey: photos of lighting crews, and camera men setting up shots, and actors preparing for their roles, that sort of thing. But be assured, this book is not a look into "the wild world [Ms. Hantzis] inhabits."
My immediate impression of the book was from the cover: a black and white portrait of Ms. Hantzis pointing a camera at a photographer. The image conjures up memories of every single self-portrait found on an angsty teenager's myspace or facebook account. Photos like these have been done to death by thirteen-year-olds and have become a cliché. You can imagine my horror when I opened the book and realized that every single photo was just like it. Every last photo in this book is a self portrait of Marina Ann Hantzis.
This book is not an example of photojournalism, it is a book of self-indulgent myspace photos. I cannot stress this point enough. Every time I turned a page in this book I felt like I was on the internet looking through some idiot's myspace profile. At one point I came across a photo of Ms. Hantzis in the shower with fake blood dripping from fake wounds and I nearly laughed aloud to myself. There is nothing "neü" about the "staged suicide photo in the bathtub/shower," which can be found on the profile of any angsty preteen trying their hardest to come across as a brooding and melancholy individual.Read more ›
Reviewers here are leaving negative reviews, pointing out that the pictures in "Neu Sex" are not all professional "art" style photos, and many of them are simple "MySpace photos" (including many nude photos).
I'd have to agree. It's only for Sasha's fans.
But Sasha does have quite a cult following - go on YouTube and type in "sasha grey love song" or "sasha grey tribute song" - you'll find everything from major label artists, to guys with their acoustic guitars, even goofy Elvis impersonators singing their love for Sasha! I'm not joking. We're just as nutty as Nine Inch Nails fans (which I also happen to be).
"Neu Sex" has gone out of print except for "Used & New". Only Sasha's cult following would be interested in the book, and if you are, get a copy if you can. For everyone else, don't waste your money. As one of the former, I give it a heavily biased 4 stars.
I love this book. I paid $17 and change for it. Now I have seen prices up to $900.00. I think unless your wallet is well padded, its not worth that kind of money. If you are a Sasha Grey fanatic MAYBE. I do love this book. I love Sasha Grey and its sexy, beautiful, and sensual. I think most of the photos were probably taken by her husband, photographer, Ian P. Cinnamon who she does give some credit to. The impression is given that Sasha took many of the photos herself though. I bought a second copy just to put in my storm shelter because it helps ease my anxiety. So good book, and if you are a rich person, spend as much as it costs, but if you really can't afford it find a better price.