Sarah Moon on the Passing of Time in Fashion Photography

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La robe à pois, 1996Photography by Sarah Moon

We speak with the French photographer about her latest exhibition at Armani Silos in Milan

“I start from nothing... I imagine a situation that doesn’t exist. I wipe out a space to invent another. I shift the light. I render everything unreal,” fashion photographer Sarah Moon told AnOther in 2016. Certainly, Moon’s work can be described as nothing short of dream-like, her signature style transforming subjects – from models clad in romantic dresses to botanical still lifes and images of industrial buildings – into disorienting blurs and smudges on a page or in a frame.

Moon rose to prominence in the 1970s, shooting for the likes of Biba and Cacharel, and was the first woman to shoot the Pirelli Calendar. Today, Moon is considered a key figure in fashion history. Although, she never imagined this would be her fate, or even that she would become a photographer, until stumbling upon the profession entirely by chance. “I was modelling and in the photographic world. I began photographing my friend’s models. Then I was asked to do it for a magazine and I became involved and interested,” she explains.

In the recent past, Sarah Moon collaborated with Giorgio Armani for the brand’s S/S18 campaign. It was fitting, then, that a new exhibition commemorating Moon’s work has been recently staged at the Armani Silos gallery in Milan. “I found the Silos very beautiful, and it gave me the desire of exhibiting there,” explains Moon. “It was a challenge to show my photographs in such a big space. The architecture, the design, the simplicity of the materials, the proportion of the rooms, lead the layout of the exhibition.”

The show is a heady mixture of abstract fashion images and lesser-known and previously unseen works. Titled From One Season to Another, it muses on the passing of time in photography and fashion alike. “I thank Giorgio Armani for his invitation and the freedom he gave me in this exhibition,” says Moon. “I have always appreciated his timeless couture. Time, of course, as the main concern in my work. As a pressure when I shoot, and I am afraid of losing the moment. As a theme that I can’t avoid, just by the fact it disappears as I have caught it in a 1/25 of a second, or missed it. I can’t say it better than T.S. Eliot: ‘Time past and time future, what might have been and what has been, point to one end, which is always present.’” 

From One Season to Another is open at Armani Silos, Milan until January 6, 2019.