Tracey Emin: My Photo Album

Edited by Tracey Emin, Damon Murray, and Stephen Sorrell. Fuel (D.A.P., dist.), $34.95 (156p) ISBN 978-0-9568962-4-7
This impressive and engaging volume is a piece of art no less well crafted than Emin’s paintings, performances, and multimedia installations. The first and last pages are designed to imitate a family photo album, though Emin calls attention to the irony of the album’s image and purpose, interjecting that “the idillic [sic] image never set the tone for my life.” The book features celebratory photographs of Emin’s artistic success and its associated glamour, including surprisingly casual pictures from a weekend with David Bowie and Iman, and roughly documented personal moments with Kate Moss and Valentino. A closer read offers more shadowy revelations. As Emin writes in the epilogue, “I’m filled with thoughts and distant memories. Nothing exact, nothing complete.” A likewise inexact, incomplete, and often disturbing narrative emerges through the array of Polaroids, photo-booth strips, mundane personal snapshots, and barely legible captions presented in the book. For example, smiling pictures captioned “I was 15 here—and very sad” are followed some pages later by a haggard, guarded ID photo labeled “happiest days of my life.” While vaguely chronological and ostensibly telling, the album doesn’t offer a definitive perspective on Emin’s life. Instead, it invites reflection on her work and photographic narrative. The book will appeal to the artist’s fans and anyone interested in self-documentary. 250 color, 60 b&w illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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