Beth Moon’s photography takes you on a journey. From the portraits of the earths oldest and historic trees, to touching tributes that show how mankind, animals, and all living things are connected. With her care, craft and art, they get to tell their stories to us. She captures in her photographs a haunting beauty, that many of us would miss.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I find inspiration most often in the natural world, sometimes literature, certainly painting. My children are a never-ending source. I find trying to look at the world through their eyes always gives me a different perspective.
Which artists have had an influence on you?
The Starns, Damien Hirst, and Banksy to name a few.
If no one saw your work, would you still create it ?
I need to be totally satisfied first and by that I mean, the end results needs to gratify my reasons for making the work in the first place, but I do not make work for myself only. The viewer is an integral part of the format. Hopefully the viewer contributes on some level, perhaps by sharing a similar curiosity or interest.
Can you share your creative process and how you edit your work?
I kind of work in an assembly line process. I photograph all of the work over a period of time. During this time I scan and digitally print small thumbnail shots that I like and put them on the wall in my office and a copy next to my bed, so I can look at them during different times of the day. Sometimes I am glancing across the room and they look more geometric in shape without so much detail. I am constantly taking some off while adding other shots, this goes on for weeks on end. I also start writing notes on my artist’s statement since this helps me to clarify direction and I am an especially bad writer. When I feel that I have enough material, I edit down to maybe 50 shots that I feel are cohesive as a group and strong individually.
Only then do I print small platinum prints of the best shots. I tape all of these up to view on the wall as a group and this time I am concentrating on the overall tones/mood/feeling. I edit down again to maybe 25-30. At this point I make adjustments to the printing, so contrast and tones are consistent within the group. Larger prints are made. At this point some of the images may not make it when they are printed large and I might have to regroup again, but this is basically how I go about getting to the final group.
How did you come to platinum printing, and Chine Colle’? Can you tell us about that process?
I started to learn platinum printing when the first series I produced faded to green within a year of printing. It was then I decided I wanted to make prints I could trust would not shift in color or tone. I really like the fact the ground metals go into the fiber of the paper instead of sitting on the surface, and love the feel of a paper made in the same mill in France for 400 hundred years.
I am familiar with the gravure printing process. I like the indent of the emboss upon the paper, it is a visual and tactile look I appreciate. For a new series of work I really wanted to use a heavier watercolor paper (#300 weight), rich with texture but it was not sized for platinum printing, so I decided to borrow the chine colle’ print making method to bond a platinum print onto the heavier substrate with an etching press.
How does photography affect the way you see the world ?
Certainly, I look closer at many things. I think photography challenges me to try to see differently.
How do challenge yourself creatively speaking?
I think there are challenges with each type of series that I’ve worked on, which is why I don’t stay with one subject matter. I actually like working out these challenges, this way I am never bored.
Thank you Beth for your time and your art.
To learn more about Beth Moon please visit her site at Beth Moon.