The Magic Of Sarah Moon In Paris.

Oct 17, 2020 | France, Paris, Photography

Last week, I went into Paris for an overdue and much needed Artist’s Date.

What is that? I hear you ask.

Some of you may be familiar with the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, but if not here’s the blurb …..

 The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the ‘I’m not talented enough’ conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity.

The Artist’s Way will demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. From Alicia Keys to Elizabeth Gilbert, Patricia Cornwell to Pete Townshend and Russell Brand, The Artist’s Way has helped thousands of people around the world to discover their inner artist. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the tools you need to enable you to fulfil your dreams.

Ten years ago now, I used this book to help me recover a personal direction in my life and to decide what to do with my next chapter. Our eldest daughter is intellectually and physically handicapped, and I spent twenty years being her carer, that is to say being her mother, nurse, physiotherapist, medical coordinator, admin secretary. Taking care of someone who is dependent and ill or handicapped, is like running a small business. So, despite my three languages and five years of higher education studies, at the age of twenty five all my ambitions and future plans were put on hold. I highly recommend the book for anyone who finds themselves at the “something has got to change” or “what next” point in life. Despite the title, you don’t need to be looking for a creative path as an artist. Whatever direction you end up taking this book will help you in many practical ways.

The Artist’s Date.

For the author Julia Cameron, an artist’s date is assigned play.

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.

For me an artist’s date is invariably going to see something that I find inspiring, interesting and joyful, which might be an exhibition, a photo shoot or a walk in the woods.

 

Marielle Warin  aka Sarah Moon.

Last week I visited the Sarah Moon retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, in the south east of England, Sarah Moon’s fashion and advertising photography, for designers such as Cacharel, Biba and many magazines, contributed to the look of the era. Although I don’t remember when I first read and remembered the name of the photographer Sarah Moon, it seems as though I have always known and loved her work. Since I started exploring photography seriously for myself, I have wanted to emulate her style and vision.

Born in 1941 in Vernon, France, Sarah Moon, previously known as Marielle Warin, rose to fame in the 1970s for her unique approach to fashion photography.

Elles 1974.

Her Jewish family was forced to leave occupied France, for England. She went to school there, learned ‘good’ manners and the “Never explain, never complain,” attitude. As a teenager she studied drawing before, at the age of sixteen, working as a model, under the name Marielle Hadengue, in London and Paris (1960–1966), having been approached by two women photographers in the street. She also became interested in photography, taking shots of her model colleagues for their books.

In a recent interview* for Elle magazine, she says that her career as a photographer began by luck and because she was in the right place at the right time. One day at a photo shoot, the photographer, Jean-Régis Roustan,  was sick and asked her to replace him to shoot a series of photos for the magazine L’Express

In 1970, she finally decided to spend all her time on photography rather than modelling, adopting Sarah Moon as her new name. She successfully captured the fashionable atmosphere of London after the “swinging sixties”, working closely with Barbara Hulanicki, who had launched the popular clothes store Biba.

I am a childhood memory, like a favourite cake for the girls of that generation. *

Avril pour Elle 1, 2003. 

In 1972, she became the first woman to shoot the Pirelli calendar, and throughout the 70s she worked on commissions for Chanel, Dior, Vogue, and more. Known for soft, dream-like, and graphic images with a focus on composition and shape, Moon’s unusual style gained her respect within the industry. After working for a long time with Cacharel, her reputation grew and she also received commissions from ChanelDiorComme des Garçons and Vogue.

I always make almost the same photograph, a dress, a woman or rather a woman, a dress. What interests me most about fashion is the woman that fashion is dressing, how she is transformed by the clothes. During the shoot she is the heroin of the story, which is only the story of the clothes that must be shown off. *

After Fashion, Animals, Books and Film.

In 1985, Moon moved into gallery and film work.

Beauty is a many headed Hydra. I don’t prefer any particular type of beauty. But I cannot photograph someone for whom I have no empathy. *

Killed In Flight 2013.

 

There were several of the artist’s films on show, but they were inside small booths, as you can see below, so given the current health crisis I did not go in to watch.

Below are some self portraits that I created inspired by the first iconic S. Moon image …..

I have a dream ….. that when we move into our new home next Spring, where I will have a painting and photography studio, I will be able towork with clients for portrait sessions, but portraits with a difference, like these.

Sarah Moon says that she never photographs reality and that is very much my own approach too, greatly influenced by masters of the craft like herself.

I am an artisan, a craftswomen.

My life time’s work?

I only show what I think is better than the work that I screwed up.

Everyone asks if I am happy (about the retrospective). Of course I am happy!

If this is my swan song, then it is a very beautiful one. *

*Extracts from an interview for Elle, La Fée Moon (The Moon Fairy) by Olivia de Lamberterie. Translated by H. Richer.

______________________

Thank you for visiting.

Take Care,

Henrie

XOX

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