Sarah Moon: The transcendence of fashion

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“I start from nothing, I make up a story which is left untold, I imagine a situation which doesn’t exist”

“For me, photography is pure fiction – I don’t believe that I am making any defined statement. Instead, I am expressing something, an echo of the world maybe,” said Sarah Moon, in an interview with the Independent in 2008. Born in 1941 in Vernon, France, Moon, previously known as Marielle Warin, rose to fame in the 1970s for her unique and elusive approach to fashion photography. In 1972, she became the first woman to shoot the Pirelli calendar, and throughout the 70s she worked on commissions for Chanel, Dior, Vogue, and more. Known for soft, dream-like, and graphic images with a focus on composition and shape, Moon’s unusual style gained her respect within the industry. But, from 1985 onwards, Moon has switched her focus to personal work, which includes short films based on fantasy and fairytales.

Now, an exhibition of Moon’s images are on display at Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, California. It spans over three decades of her photography, from commercial to personal work, exploring her dynamic use of shape and composition, and her ability to move a viewer without the need to establish eye contact.

In a quote provided by the gallery, Moon says of her process: “I start from nothing, I make up a story which is left untold, I imagine a situation which doesn’t exist, I wipe out a space to invent another, I shift the light, I render unreal and then I try. I watch out for what I didn’t expect. I wait to see what I can’t remember. I undo what I put together, I hope for luck, but more than anything, I long to be touched as I shoot.”

Sarah Moon: The Transcendence of Fashion will be on display at Peter Fetterman Gallery from 07 June to 06 September 2019

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Deputy Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Elephant, Gal-dem, The Face, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.