Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Moon’

Sarah Moon – Orient Express

Friday, January 10th, 2020

I’ve never travelled on the Orient Express, but years ago one of my late friends, Terry King, got what seemed to be a dream job, working on an advertising commission for the company.

He’d gone to their offices with his portfolio of gum bichromate prints and they had sat around them in awe in their kaftans (it was then a rather new age company.) I’ve described elsewhere how Terry, Randall Webb and myself had all started investigating the process but Terry had evolved his own methods of progressing with the process, using several large paper negatives printed in different tones and colours and with carefully controlled manual development at each stage to produce highly pictorial results.

So Terry got a free trip on the Orient Express to Venice, where he spent a few days taking pictures before returning to his London studio and working on the results, producing prints to take back to the company. He went in to show them the results and immediately sensed the company had changed management; in place of kaftans the executives were now all in smart business suits and ties. They didn’t appreciate his work and the project was abandoned.

Terry did make some fine prints of his work in Venice, and some of them will still be hanging on people’s walls around the country, with sales through an art dealer in Richmond. (I have one of his pictures of London on my wall – we did a swap – but not of Venice.) Until recently you could see some of them on his web site, but that is no longer on line. The only example I can find is on the Silverprint web site, a company which supplies fine photographic materials – including some of the chemicals and sundries that both Terry and I used. It is a picture from Venice and I think is possibly a cyanotype over a gum image, though it could possibly be simply a gum using two shades of blue.

I have met Sarah Moon (above with photographer Joan Fontcuberta), though only fairly briefly when we were both speaking at the FotoArtFestival in Bielsko-Biala in 2007. We shared several meals at the event and had some long conversations and there are a few more pictures of her in my diary.

Sarah Moon with film-maker Nina Rosenblum and photo-historian Naomi Rosenblum

Which brings me – finally – to the reason for this post, Sarah Moon : Orient Express – Louis Vuitton Editions – which was featured on ‘The Eye of Photography‘. This is a book in their Fashion Eye collection, a series in which each “book evokes a city, a region or a country, seen through the eyes of a fashion photographer.”

LV is a French fashion house and luxury retail company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton, who introduced a range of luggage with flat-top trunks for travel, which meant they could be stacked, particularly on rail journeys – previously trunks had been made with rounded tops so that the rain would run off when they were carried on open waggons and carriages. The Orient Express which began in 1883 thus seems a very appropriate subject.

You can read about this book on the UK LV web site, which has the same selection of stills as ‘The Eye of Photography’. But if you scroll down the page there is also an over- rapid ‘page-through‘ video of the book, which gives a good idea of the size and layout of the work. And if you change the video to 1080px, make it full screen and stop the playback you can actually see and read the pages. Presumably you can buy it in their shops as well as on-line, but at £42 (including standard delivery) although it looks an intersting book I find it a little too expensive – like their luggage.