Farleys House & Gallery presents the first survey exhibition of photographer Annabel Moeller, whose 30-year career has chronicled the human condition and perseverance in its many manifestations. Opening on 2 April 2023, Annabel Moeller: Friends to Frontiers, will bring together over 100 works, posters and ephemera, tracing the development of her work. From Moeller’s photographs of major productions around the world, including opera, ballet and fashion events, through to her documentation of current affairs as well as conflict and its aftermath, the exhibition will present an extraordinary catalogue of human experiences.
Arranged thematically, the ex hibition will include early works depicting Moeller’s close friends in Sydney, Australia, offering a candid portrayal of life in Sydney in the early 1990s. Visitors will go on to encounter Moeller’s photographs of Opera Australia, with highlight works including an image from director Lindy Hume’s critically acclaimed, feminist telling of Carmen in 1995, showing Suzanne Johnston as the titular character, a disembodied gun pointed at her chest. Also on display will be a selection of images from when Moeller covered the first Australian Fashion Week in 1996, including dramatic shots of the catwalk and the backstage crews, demonstrating the physical reality of its fast-paced events.
The next section of the exhibition will present Moeller’s time spent photographing prominent performances of the English National Ballet from 2007-2012, including at iconic venues such as the London Coliseum and Royal Opera House. Photographs from this period will demonstrate how Moeller succeeded in lifting the lid on the rarefied world of ballet, revealing the raw power and grit that lies behind the beauty and apparent effortlessness of the dancers’ performances. Highlight photographs will include intimate behind-the-scenes moments from the ballet, such as a ballerina rehearsing in the wings of the London Coliseum during the Ballet Icons performance in 2017.
In stark contrast to her earlier work, the following sections of the exhibition will present Moeller’s work documenting conflict and its aftermath; Moeller was embedded with British troops during their last tour of duty in Iraq in 2009 and in 2011 began a series of trips to Afghanistan, with the charity Afghan Mother and Child, to photograph the setting up of maternity clinics in the majestic Panjshir Valley. Works on display will demonstrate Moeller’s ability to capture human resilience in the face of adversity.
Since 2016 Moeller has been working with the David Nott Foundation, a humanitarian organisation dedicated to training doctors and surgeons working in conflict, witnessing first- hand the ability for bodies to be repaired in incredibly challenging environments. A moving image taken last year of David Nott in a shelled hospital in Kharkiv during the ongoing war in Ukraine and intimate portraits of female surgeons in Libya taken in 2018 reflect Moeller’s propensity for close observation, allowing for a deeper connection with her subjects.
Ami Bouhassane, co-director of Farleys House & Gallery, said “We are delighted to be holding the first career retrospective of Annabel Moeller. People will know her work but may never have realised who had created these remarkable images, and we hope that Annabel’s extraordinary body of work and adventurous spirit will resonate with our visitors. We are so pleased to be able to champion Annabel, building on our mission to celebrate the work of talented photographers who have not previously been exhibited. Lee Miller herself championed the recognition of other women and their achievements throughout her life, and we are proud to continue that legacy in her former home.”
Accompanying the exhibition will be a book of Moeller’s photography, published by Lee Miller Archives, featuring essays from Moeller and close associates from throughout her career, including Craig Hassall, former CEO of the Royal Albert Hall, and Major General Andy Salmon who worked with Moeller during her time in Basra, Iraq.
About Annabel Moeller
Annabel Moeller lives and works in London and has worked as a photographer for over 30 years. Moeller started out as a picture researcher at Camera Press, before moving to Australia and beginning her professional photography career working with the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Morning Herald, photographing the first years of Australian Fashion Week and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Returning to London in the 2000s, Moeller’s work has taken her overseas with the British Army and the David Nott Foundation, working in countries including Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Ukraine. She has worked with a number of other high profile organisations and institutions for a number of years, including the English National Ballet (2007- 2013), the House of Lords (since 2012), and the Royal Albert Hall (since 2017).
Annabel Moeller : Friends to Frontiers
2 April – 2 July 2023
Farleys House & Gallery
Muddles Grn, Chiddingly, Muddles Green
Lewes BN8 6HW, United Kingdom
Annabel Moeller: Friends to Frontiers, published by Lee Miller Archives Publishing. UK Publication date March 2023
Available through www.leemiller.co.uk and the Farleys House & Gallery website
ISBN: 978 1 914298 04 2