Once Upon a Time With Sarah Moon

To be more creative is to get closer to childhood.
-Sarah Moon

“Impressionist photographer” Sarah Moon has spent her entire career dancing down the high-wire tension line strung between fine-art and fashion photography. To my knowledge, she has yet to falter or repeat herself.

Her phantasmagoric vision, though often imitated, would be impossible to duplicate. Most anyone with the time and resources can become a darkroom wizard, and Moon certainly is, using capricious techniques like sepia coloring on matte paper, toned silver gelatin printing, solarization, monochrome Polaroid pack, etc. Much of the trendy work made through these means can seem a bit stale or derivative, lacking a certain sense of playfulness, don’t you think? The mischievous gut level allegory found in Moon’s most memorable compositions sets her apart.

Take a stroll through her dreamy fairy tale world beyond the cut.

It’s rare for a commercial photographer to gain renown while working primarily in such a grainy, blurry, enigmatically feminine vein. From the description of her “Coincidences” collection:

“Although Moon has been a major participant in the world of fashion for more than three decades, she has carefully carved out her own niche — a signature style that dispenses with the erotically suggestive poses favored by many of her male counterparts in favor of the emblems of luxury and nostalgia.”

All images by Sarah Moon.

21 Responses to “Once Upon a Time With Sarah Moon”

  1. Nadya Lev Says:

    Sarah Moon is truly amazing! What’s mysterious to me is that I just tried to look her up on Wikipedia, and didn’t find an entry to her. I wonder why that is!

    Also, I would love to see her do a take on The Master and Margarita.

  2. theremina Says:

    A Master and Margarita editorial would be wonderful, yes.
    I’m confounded by the lack of press and internet exposure for Sarah Moon. She’s legendary in my mind.

  3. Nadya Lev Says:

    Yeah, she’s legendary, they taught us about her in photography class.

    Maybe I’ll go sign up for Wikipedia and write one. I’ve always wanted to contribute to that site.

  4. Bunny Says:

    Wow! She is incredible. I can’t believe I haven’t seen her work before. It does have a wonderful playfulness about it!

  5. Jerem Morrow Says:

    My mind, it must become capable of consumption of so much new info on a daily basis. It must.

  6. tymcode Says:

    I think you should, Nadya — of course, that’s the point of Wikipedia.

    My first Wiki edit was a page on Jane Wynn a few weeks ago. I found it easier to start by creating a whole page and refining it until it looked consistent with other entries. Since nobody knew about the page, I felt pretty fearless about letting certain things maybe be a little bit “wrong” (Wiki style-wise), at least for a while — you don’t have that freedom with an existing page that might be someone else’s baby. After getting that page right, I can now edit other existing pages effortlessly.

    The only bummer is that you can’t just add an example of her work. You pretty much have to have the right and the willingness to place the picture into the public domain. In my case I wrote the artist and asked her to add a picture, and she did.

    –Mike Jennings

  7. Gretta Says:

    I’m in awe.

  8. Cosmic Anomaly Analyst No.7 Says:



  9. Simon Says:

    Her work is so great… Good old film grain and borders, dark pictures…Like if they hed been taken in some really dark and stylish ancient times… Beautiful

  10. rainer Says:

    so beautiful, try to get a chance to look at one of her catalogues, to see the images in a good quality print will blow your mind ;-)

  11. D Says:

    I think I’ve seen via wurzeltod at some point, but agreed, odd that it’s so rare. This it what photography wants to become, perhaps.

  12. Chanel Says:

    This is what photography should be…a vision that can adapt to our memories.

  13. may Says:

    it´s great… wonderful!!

  14. Tomorrow Museum » Archive » A Trip to the Zoo Says:

    […] Images by Sarah Moon. Brightcove video and more about the artist. […]

  15. …I am remiss; here is an art-related post in recompense about Sarah Moon, photographer « quixotism and curiousity Says:

    […] A review about Sarah Moon on Coilhouse […]

  16. Isabelle Says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Sarah Moon on a few occasions, both in North America and in Paris. She has been the most influential artists of my career in the art world, just a simply amazing woman. She is extremely private and shies away from any sort of press and media, that is why you can’t find much on her. She also hates to talk about her work, it’s very private to her.

  17. A Child’s Hood | I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Says:

    […] Above quote and pictures taken from Coilhouse. […]

  18. lollie Says:

    quite lovely. reminiscent of man ray’s work.

  19. marianne eijkman Says:

    Beautiful, tender work.
    Remember though that the exceptional printing of her work was not done by herself but by printing legend Biil Rowlinson .

  20. Chassy989 Says:

    Don’t worry guys, there is an entry on the French Wikipedia..

    just copy the text into an online translator and it’s roughly understandable ;)

    Her work is beautiful x

  21. Mike Taylor Says:

    I’ve been a fan of her work for at least 20 years now. Fantastic creativity.