Born in 1941, fashion and fine art photographer Sarah Moon has a unique and distinctive style. Much of her work has a dreamlike, ethereal quality to it. Soft focus, extremely shallow depth of field, and muted colors are common in her images. She prints in sepia tone on matte paper, a process that became obsolete in the 1920s. Sometimes dubbed an “impressionist photographer” because of the grainy, painterly style of her images, Sarah Moon’s work has a strong narrative quality. Working with fairy tales, Moon created a series during the 1980s entitled Little Red Riding Hood
, based on the classic Charles Perrault tale. The images in the series seem to have a film noir quality to them. Light and shadow play off each other in a haunting manner. The image below is from the series.
Sarah Moon also illustrated and adapted Andersen’s The Little Match Girl in the film Circus. She created a series of photographs from the set of this film. In Moon’s adaptation. The little match girl is an abandoned performer’s daughter who is part of a circus struggling to make it through the winter months. As in Andersen’s version, the tale ends tragically.
Image from Circus
More work from Sarah Moon
The softness and monotonality of her images are really stricking to me. I appreciate how these stylistic elements contrast with the sometimes disturbing and melancholy content of her work. I’d like to explore using this technique in my own work.