Sarah Moon

Sarah Moon 1

Sarah Moon (1941) was born in Vichy, France as Marielle Hadengue. She was born to a Jewish family and moved to England when France was occupied at the start of World War II. As a teenager she studied drawing before working as a model in London and Paris (1960–1966). She moved from behind the camera in 1970 to become a fashion photographer, adopting Sarah Moon as her new name. Moon is best known for her signature style of dreamlike images and her representation of femininity free from time and context. Most of her images look like pictures from a fairy tale book; she says ‘I never photograph reality’. Mystery and sensuality are at the core of Moon’s portraiture.

Moon cites Guy Bourdin, a fashion photographer, as influencing her career because of his narrative content rather than his use of saturated colours. Moon’s colour imagery has a restricted tonal palette and she prefers the use of black-and-white film as it is more dramatic and further removed from reality.

Her photography technique is simple – she doesn’t work with flash, just daylight and tungsten. I particularly like the photographic style of the artist. The images are dreamy, painterly, softly focused and heavily grained – similar to the work of the Impressionists.

The double exposure image above has been captured ‘in-camera’ on black-and-white film and by not advancing the film until the second shot had been taken. This has given the effect of ‘fake twins’. It is not a mirror image of the model – Moon has captured the model in two poses which indicates that Moon moved the camera into position rather than the model knowingly shifting her position. This technique gives further emphasis on capturing a mystical, invisible world rather than reality.

Moon’s fashion photography has appeared in magazines such as French Elle and Italian Vogue, as well as commercial work for designers such as Miyake, Lacroix and Chanel. Moon now lives in Paris and is married to Robert Delpire, an art publisher who published ‘Sarah Moon: 1 2 3 4 5’, a collection of five notebooks/volumes collection of her life.

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