Odalisque - - Contents - An in­ter­vi­ew with Sa­rah Moon Writ­ten by Mi­chae­la My­hr­berg

I’m sit­ting in the midd­le of the ex­hi­bi­tion cha­os. The ope­ning of The Red Th­re­ad is in just a few hours. The­re are so­me wo­men (and so­me­ti­mes men) who mes­me­ri­ze the pe­op­le around them, so­me­ti­mes with their ba­re pre­sence and so­me­ti­mes with their hard work. Sa­rah Moon do­es both. She cap­tu­res her au­di­ence through pho­to­grap­hy and lets us ha­ve a glimp­se in­to her own per­so­nal uni­ver­se, using the lens to show us an al­ter­na­ti­ve re­a­li­ty, of­ten with a lack of suns­hi­ne and blur­ry cap­tu­res.

So when I me­et her at the at Fo­to­gra­fis­ka, the Mu­se­um of Pho­to­grap­hy in Stock­holm, among the tu­mult of art pie­ces, cu­ra­tors and drills, I fe­el so­mehow pri­vi­le­ged. She looks cool and cul­tural, li­ke so­me­o­ne who would be fri­ends with, for ex­amp­le, Yo­ko Ono.

How was it when you be­gan your pho­to­grap­hy ca­re­er in the 60s? MM

SM Li­ke for eve­ry­bo­dy, you need to ple­a­se mo­re. I was still mo­de­ling when I be­gan and back then the­re was less pho­to­grap­hy and the­re we­re fewer pho­to­grap­hers avai­lab­le. Pe­op­le we­re cu­ri­ous to see what a mo­del could do. I was lucky.

MM I know that at le­ast he­re in Swe­den, which so­me say has one of the most gen­der equal so­ci­e­ti­es, even to­day a lot of wo­men strugg­le in the pho­to­grap­hy world. It’s har­der for wo­men in the bu­si­ness to ma­ke it and the agen­ci­es aren’t hel­ping by on­ly recrui­ting ma­le pho­to­grap­hers...

SM I was ve­ry for­tu­na­te with that. I ne­ver had that fe­e­ling becau­se I was a part of that sto­ry al­re­a­dy when I be­gan. The­re was mo­re cu­ri­o­si­ty and may­be so­me pa­ter­na­lism, you know, they wan­ted to see what this young girl could do, but at the sa­me ti­me they ga­ve me an op­por­tu­ni­ty. It wasn’t hard for me but I know ot­her wo­men who’d had to strugg­le. But no­wa­days in fashion the­re are ma­ny fe­ma­le pho­to­grap­hers.

I guess the fashion in­du­stry is so­mehow a wo­man’s world. MM

Yes, I think the­re’s a fe­ma­le so­li­da­ri­ty. SM

I ask about the ur­ge of in­ven­ting a new re­a­li­ty, of ben­ding the world as we nor­mal­ly see it. But she’s not try­ing to cre­a­te so­met­hing new, just cap­tu­re what she se­es her­self. The go­al is to ex­press so­met­hing that she fe­els at a cer­tain mo­ment. I won­der, are the­re any sta­te­ments in the art, and is she po­li­ti­cal?

I think I’m po­li­ti­cal, eve­ryt­hing is po­li­ti­cal so­mehow, you know? I me­an, even fe­e­lings are SM

po­li­ti­cal. Is it po­li­ti­cal to en­han­ce a fe­e­ling of a wo­man? If so, I am po­li­ti­cal.

Do you pre­fer to shoot wo­men or men? MM

SM In fashion I pre­fer wo­men, I shoot men too, but the­re’s mo­re ca­pa­ci­ty of “ma­king up” with wo­men. It’s ea­si­er to cre­a­te a sto­ry with a wo­man, sin­ce the­re are so mo­re ways of be­ing dif­fe­rent, it’s mo­re fun. I li­ke to ta­ke men’s portraits but not ne­ces­sa­rily in the si­tu­a­tion of fashion.

Do you ha­ve any fa­vo­ri­te mo­dels that you work with over and over again? MM

SM I do, I li­ke to work with the the sa­me mo­dels. The shoot be­comes a team ef­fort and it do­es help when you know so­me­bo­dy.

Sa­rah points at one of the pie­ces han­ging on the car­di­nal red pain­ted wall and tells me that Avril, the girl in the pho­to, she knew sin­ce she was four ye­ars old. She’s now an ac­tress.

MM For me, loo­king at your images, they so­mehow se­em ve­ry dreamy, I won­der when you dream, whet­her you see your own images? Do you dream in black and white?

SM No not ne­ces­sa­rily... they’re not so dreamy to me... But I al­ways think one shuts her ey­es be­fo­re ope­ning. A dream is a mix­tu­re of me­mo­ry and desi­re. I think I see mo­re in black and white even though so­me­ti­mes co­lor im­po­ses it­self and you can’t es­cape, it’s the co­lor that dicta­tes. But if I go out and around, ve­ry of­ten, black and white is enough.

Do you think that if you hadn’t be­come a pho­to­grap­her you would ha­ve kept be­ing a mo­del? MM

SM Well, you can’t be a mo­del all your li­fe. May­be I would ha­ve been a pain­ter, but you can ne­ver know, it’s one step in front of one step.

I get the ob­vious idea that Sa­rah’s not a wo­man who thinks too much about the past or what could’ve been. Sa­rah’s strongly an­cho­red in the pre­sent and most­ly in­te­res­ted in what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the futu­re. She re­cent­ly fi­nished a job for Cha­nel whi­le wor­king on her mo­re per­so­nal pie­ces and ex­hi­bi­ting her work at mul­tip­le pla­ces around the world. She says, ti­me go­es by quick­ly so she just wants to do as much as pos­sib­le, al­ways.

Are you ever at ho­me just re­lax­ing? MM

I don’t know what that is and at ho­me you ne­ver re­lax becau­se the­re’s al­ways so much to do. SM

Do you ha­ve any fa­vo­ri­te de­sig­ners who­se pie­ces you pre­fer to wear? MM

Oh, I lo­ve the Ja­pa­ne­se ones, Com­me des Garçons and Yo­h­ji Ya­ma­mo­to. SM

She says my coat looks li­ke Ya­ma­mo­to or at le­ast Ja­pa­ne­se. It’s a bit fun­ny sin­ce I’m wea­ring my Odes­sa coat from Swe­dish de­sig­ner Ro­de­b­jer. Sa­rah asked me ear­li­er what good Swe­dish de­sig­ners the­re we­re and Ro­de­b­jer was one of the ones I told her. She says it’s lo­vely. I al­so find out that she’s got a cat and that becau­se of her Ja­pa­ne­se look, was na­med Haiku.

Do you tra­vel a lot to To­kyo? MM

Most­ly I go to Pa­ris. I go to To­kyo oc­ca­sio­nal­ly but ha­ven’t been the­re in a whi­le now. SM

I ask Sa­rah if she ta­kes any pho­tos on her spa­re ti­me, what about vaca­tions?

Well it is vaca­tion each ti­me I ta­ke a pictu­re becau­se then I am so­mewhe­re el­se. SM

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