Sarah Moon, Contacts
“I have been taking almost the same picture 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 or winter, no matter. I photograph privilege, illusion, evanescence, unlikeness, beauty. Then I seek for an emotion. It seems an even more hopeless quest.”
“I’ve often envied those who 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 walk around the model, I look at her endlessly, face, profile, back, upside down, top to toe, I change the angles, I cheat the perspective. As the model has only one place, I’m looking for for mine. I can’t find it. I want to be somewhere else. I keep on. I hang on to shapes: the curve of the neck, the folds 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 say ‘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 a button, I say it’s great, yes, I pretend once, twice, 36 times. I hope and I begin again. Time goes by, the night falls, I lose 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, everything goes so quickly now within that stilness, and I’m carried away, and at last I like what I see, and I can’t stop finding it, then losing it, and all day long I keep on, because it once existed.”
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