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 1970’s, 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.” – Sarah Moon 2008

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Looking into Sarah 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 film maker. Her photographic work has been published in Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie-Claire, Graphis, Life and numerous other magazines. Her books include Improbable Memories (1980), Little Red Riding Hood (1986) Vrais Semblants (1991), Inventario 1985-1997 (1997) and Photopoche (1998). She has made more than 150 television commercials and a film on the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1995). Moon won the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Applied Photography in 1985 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1995.

Selected Biography

Lives and works in Paris

1941 – Born in France

1970 – Becomes fashion photographer, after modelling for several years

1979 – Begins to make short films
Wins Grand Prix (toutes catagories) Lion d’Or for her films for Cacharel, Cannes

1983 – Exhibition at International Centre of Photography New York
Publication of Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Grasset & Fasquelle, Paris)

1984 – Wins Clio Award, New York

1986 – Wins Grande Prix du livre d’enfants, Bologne for Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

1990 – Makes Missippi One, Long Metrage– Take Five Productions

1994 – Exhibits in Les Rencontres Internationales d’Arles

1995 – Wins Grand Prix Nationale de la Photographie, France
Makes Henri Cartier –Bresson, Point d’interrogation– Take Five productions

2000 – Publication of Still, Weinstein Gallery

2001 – Exhibition at Maison de la Photographie, Moscow (Still)
Publication of Coincidences, Editions Delpire

2002 – Exhibition at Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyoto
Publication of Sarah Moon, Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation

2005 – Exhibition Circus Michael Hoppen Gallery

2007 – Cultural award from the German Society for Photography (with Robert Delpire)

2008 – Sarah Moon 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 published, Thames and Hudson. Book wins the Prix Nadar.
Concurrent exhibitions at RCA & Michael Hoppen Gallery

2011 – Exhibition Sarah Moon at Le Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image Charles Nègre, Nice

2012 – Exhibition The Black Hood, Moscow House of Photography

2015 – Exhibition Sarah Moon – Now and Then, Haus der photographie Deichtorhallen, Hamburg

2018 – Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society

2020 – Solo retrospective Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris