Sara Hannant

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What does the moon mean to you? How does it make you feel? What memories do you associate with the moon? In the spring of 2019, Moon Festival went out on the streets, in squares, museums, corner shops, and shopping centres all around the Royal Borough of Greenwich to ask people about their relationship with the moon. I was commissioned by the festival to make a series of photographs inspired by these stories. Lunation provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with the moon and to explore my interest in the role of myth, magic and folklore in modern identities. Initially, I photographed the moon during various phases using a lens of high magnification. On to these images, I placed small objects which represent aspects of the moon as described in the stories. As above so below, the visual correspondences open the narratives to further interpretations and associations.

"We grew up in the city, but you enjoy the moon more in the village. Because there’s no electricity, the moonlight gathers everybody and it creates that environment of peace and joy, like a lullaby. Stories are told and the lessons that are drawn from them intrigue children." Felicia

“My first new moon sighting was at Oxford University with an astronomer tutor who took us to the Radcliffe Observatory. Seeing that very thin sliver was an incredible experience. That indirectly inspired the formation of the New Crescent Society to revive the practice of moon sighting.” Imad

"As a child, I was convinced that the moon moved. Just looking at something so big and how it appears in the sky, I'd think it was moving but it wasn't moving – it’s in one position. Amazing how in all the world it’s just this one thing." Margaret

"What I associate most with the moon is moonlight; during the Blitz, that’s when the German airplanes came over because they could see clearly at the time of blackouts." Raymond

“In Japan, on a full moon, we say there’s a rabbit making, you know, sticky rice. But in the US, you literally say it’s a man on the moon, like you see a face. Cultural differences." Kenei

“I’ve always liked the moon. Whether it has any healing qualities, I don’t know, but I’m still in remission with breast cancer and that helped, I find, just looking up and seeing the moon. I often think of how it made me feel to look up and see it peeping through.” Jill

“I always look at the moon as part of nature and part of wellbeing. You know certain moons deal with mental health so on a full moon I am more irritated and more possessive. Then on a quarter moon or a half moon less active.” Debra

“I gave birth to a child under a full moon. When I see a full moon today, I always recall that day. When I was pregnant, there were lots of guests at home. That was my first child and I was young and I felt very shy and I just went to the corner of the garden and gave birth on my own.” Min

“We had a party the night before, so we just stayed up. At about 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning UK time, when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, we were all gathered around a very small black and white television watching it.” Steve

“My mum used to tell me stories about him. She used to tell me if we weren’t very good, someone would come down in a net from the moon. That’s what my overarching memory of the moon is! There’s a face, and there’s a man up there. My own sons love the moon.” Kathryn

"My mother named my daughter Halla – in English it means halo: it’s when the moon is full and it’s at its brightest the glow that seems to illuminate behind it. Sometimes, when I’m on the bus or driving, I see it and remember my daughter." Iman

"An extended flirtation between moon and sun, a dance about symbols which unite and distinguish them in the true way of complementary opposites: forever connected and forever different.” Sara

Sara Hannant

Sara Hannant is an artist and photographer whose work explores magic, myth and folklore.  Her images have been widely exhibited including at The Royal Society of Arts, Christie’s and Towner Art Gallery and featured on the BBC, and in The Guardian and The Sunday Times among others.  In 2019, she was shortlisted for the British Photography Awards and in 2018 for the British Life Photography Award and nominated for the Royal Photographic Society Hundred Heroines.  Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (Strange Attractor Press 2016) was shortlisted for the International Photography Awards Book of the Year 2017.  Her book Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year (Merrell 2011) received the runner-up Katharine Briggs Folklore Award in 2012, and the exhibition of the same title is being toured by the Horniman Museum.   Sara lectures in photography at City, University of London and London Metropolitan University.


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