Sarah Moon
Marielle Hadengue

“I don't really like colour.To make it work for me, I have to mess with it. I believe that the essence of photography is black and white. Colour is but a deviance.”

“Each photography is the last witness, or even the last evidence of a moment that would otherwise be lost forever; it is the sense of loss, and of time passing by"

"When I feel moved by the beauty of a young woman, what overwhelms me is the impermanence, the feeling that it must be captured in that particular instant. I see beauty appearing and disappearing, and I feel disheartened, because I am never sure that I live up to the privilege, that I do what has to be done to convey what I saw. Our anguish, our feeling of guilt stems from the knowledge that it depends on us, on our way of seeing what's in front of our eyes."

It is difficult to summarise Sarah Moon’s fantastical photography - almost thirty years of image making has made Sarah Moon a legend in her own lifetime. Well known for her very personalised commercial work since the early 1970s, Sarah has continued to investigate a world of her own invention without repetition and also without compromise.

Sarah Moon is a French photographer born in 1941 into a Jewish family forced to leave occupied France. She studied drawing and started out as a model. “My first husband was an artist. I modelled to make money, and not very often.” She was a fashion model from 1960 to 1966. Look hard, though, and you’ll find her in Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin pictures. Both photographers remained friends and mentors of Sarah Moon

She cites Bourdin’s influence — his obliqueness and narrative content, most probably, rather than his sexual urgencies and intense colours. Her tonal palette is restricted and gated, though lush and original.

She moved behind the camera in 1970 when she was already 29. The late start hints at her fear of failure. That delay, though, seems to have provided time and space for her exotic style to develop in private, untrammelled by photo editors' negativity. It was almost fully formed from the start.

In 1972, she became the first woman to photograph the Pirelli calendar. She shot in Paris, at the Villa des Tilleuls, in a rich, blurry colour reminiscent of Degas’ paintings of ballerinas.

Moon photographed for French Elle, Italian Vogue and shot campaigns for Chanel, Rykiel, Miyake, Thierry Mugler, Lacroix and Dior. But after 15 years working in fashion, responding to the commands of numerous brands and magazines, Sarah Moon's career takes a turn when the artist decides to devote more time to photograph more personal, introspective and purely artistic images.