Chad Moore’s Grit and Glory

The photographer presents his latest powerful and personal images in his first solo New York exhibition

There’s a woman laughing, reclining on a taupe couch as sunlight streams over her smiling face, her bare chest. A lit cigarette rests in one hand while the other is bandaged to her elbow in a bright green cast. It’s a photograph that can be taken in only the most intimate of circumstances. Yet to say that Chad Moore’s photography is intimate is a vast understatement.

Rather, it would be more accurate to say Moore possesses a gift for bringing forth a combined sincerity and vulnerability in his subjects without appearing saccharine or contrived. His images, unafraid of grit, grain, and darkness, capture young people encircled in orbs of light the way perhaps only young people are, in searing, warm color. They’re pictures where you imagine the subjects looking back at them years from now and loving their sprightly laughs, their moody stares, their nakedness of body and soul.

Moore’s work has been published in the likes of American VogueInterview, and V, among others, and interestingly his fashion photography captures the same luminescent qualities of its subjects, but occasionally with a literal or merely emotional sense of distance. That distance is absent, however, in his solo New York gallery debut exhibition “Whatever’s in Me is Whatever’s in You” at Galerie agnès b., on view until July 30. His previous gallery exhibitions around the world have been both solo and group shows, where one of the latter paired him with renowned photographers like Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller, and Arnaud Pyvka. “Whatever’s in Me is Whatever’s in You” features 24 prints all shot between 2011 and 2017 and is accompanied by a short, small paperback book.

The book functions almost as a keepsake of the exhibition, in which Moore gifts viewers not just the images on the wall, but a collection of even more images taken during the same time. While one would think that on the wall the photographs would invite a deeper gaze and in print they would inspire mere glimpses, the nature of Moore’s work is that even the smallest images in his book draw the viewer ever closer. No matter the method of delivery, Moore gives us just a taste of the moment at hand, the right amount of intimacy, to invite us in without making us feel like voyeurs (even though in some sense we definitely are).

The images Moore shows us don’t invade privacy; instead, they respectfully, carefully preserve it as if Moore knows that someone inviting in his body is already a gift, let alone inviting a camera. There’s something about each image that purposely tells us ‘there’s something else happening here later, something you want to see but will never be able to.’ Moore’s composition draws us in but his mastery of presenting that mystery, those imaginings of what might be, is what keeps us looking.


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