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QUOTE: Sarah Moon

“I’ve been taking almost the same photograph for twenty years, a fashion picture, a dress, a woman, or rather a woman, a dress. Close up or full length, sitting, standing, inside, outside, in the shade, or in the light, summer, winter, no matter.

I photograph privilege, illusion, effervescence, likeness and beauty. Then I seek for an emotion, it seems an even more hopeless quest.

I’ve often envied those that photograph life; I avoid it. I start from nothing; I make up a story which I leave untold. I imagine a situation which doesn’t exist. I wipe out a space to invent another. I shift the light, I render everything 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 hazard, but more than anything I long to be struck as I shoot.

So I work around the model, I look at her endlessly, face, profile, back, upside down, top to toe, I change the angles, I cheat the perspective, I falsify the trail, I don’t know any more, nothing but emptiness around. As the model is only one place I am looking for mine, I can’t find it; I want to be somewhere else. I keep on. I hang onto shapes, the curve of the neck, the fold of the dress, the gesture of the hand, the balance of the hips. The model moves slowly, she suggests, she tries to understand what I can’t explain; she tries to play a part I can’t follow. I hear myself saying “no, no, do nothing”, so again she waits, she stares at me, she sees my panic, I feel I’m letting her down, I feel guilty. So I press the button, I say, “it’s great”, yes, I pretend, once, twice, sorry six times. I hope and begin again. Time goes by, light falls, I loose confidence, I don’t want to be a photographer anymore.

Then, all of a sudden, but not always, something changes. I can’t say why, maybe I’m just in the right place at the right time, or maybe I believe in it. However, for a split second I see a sparkle of beauty passing by, or is it simply the difference or the surprise. However, everything goes so quickly now within that stillness and I’m carried away and at last I like what I see and I can’t stop finding it and losing it, and all day long I’ll keep on because it once existed.”

Moon, S

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