I THINK OF COLOUR AS MORE OF A COMMON LANGUAGE. MORE GENEROUS, MORE OPEN, NOT TRANSPOSED, THE LANGUAGE OF THE REAL
- Sarah Moon
Ethereal and elegant, Sarah Moon's photographs are almost abstract in their painterly qualities. Texture, surface, seeing, believing, dreaming; it is difficult to summarise their content without pointing to the evident romantic and melancholic mood that emanates from the work. Moon - who came to prominence in the 1970s, breaks from the traditions of Fashion Photography, choosing instead to investigate a world of her own invention without compromise.
"When I shoot flowers or any still life, or fashion, colour forces me to be more abstract, I have to make the effort to transpose it, in order to get closer to what it was that first impressed me. For me, black and white is closer to introspection, to memories, to loneliness and loss, I don't see the same in colour - it's another language, a living language."
Looking into Moon's extraordinary photographs is comparable to looking through a two-way mirror. The mirror surface becomes the print and the viewer has the privilege of standing on the 'other-side' looking through the image at the same time. The living creatures are rendered so 'still' and conversely the inanimate objects, such as the dolls, become human and expressive with their own inimitable character, ultimately mirroring each other. There is an atmosphere and intensity, which is constantly apparent that sets her work apart. It is also the range of subject matter, the banal, the incidental, and the secret that Sarah Moon allows us to see in a new and extraordinary light.
The current trend in photography is towards a method that is more and more interventionist. Moon takes little pleasure in this kind of creation, but is involved in a personal search. The dream world is quintessential to her work; her images lead us into a world bewitched. When men appear, her pictures move towards a more disturbing surrealism and a dangerous mystery is inferred. These are photographs in which the bizarre and unusual confront ordinary reality.
Sarah Moon (b. 1941) was born in England and began her career as a fashion model in the 1960s. Since 1968, she has worked as a fashion photographer and filmmaker. Her photographic work has been published in Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie-Claire, Graphis, Life and numerous other magazines.
Her publications include Improbable Memories (1980), Little Red Riding Hood (1986), Vrais Semblants (1991), Inventario 1985-1997 (1997), Photopoche (1998) and Dior (2022). She has made more than 150 television commercials and a film on the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1995). In 1985, Moon won the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award for Applied Photography and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1995.