Annabel Elgar

1971, British, Born in Aldershot, Hampshire
Nominee - Prix Elysée 2015

British photographer, Annabel Elgar, was born in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1971; she currently lives and works in London. She received her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London. Her photographic work straddles the divide between the constructed and the documentary, poised elegantly somewhere between the fairy tale and the everyday. Many of her inspirations are mythic, gleaned from news stories, the Internet, folklore and literature and transformed to create dramas, which allude to contemporary events of surreptitious exchange. The collective, the individual, and issues of counterculture are primary concerns in her photographic practice. Her work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications in Europe and North America, notably the FotoMuseum, Antwerp, the Galleria Civica, Modena, and the Wapping Project, London.



Cheating the Moon

Annabel Elgar takes the myths that surround the Apollo Moon Landings and the stolen or missing Goodwill Moon Rocks of the Apollo 11 and 17 missions as point of departure. She proposes to create an archive of potential moon rock findings, mixing fiction and fact as a framework to inform the fabrication of her documentary images.

“One of the myths that surround the Apollo Moon Landings was their supposed construction. That the giant leap for mankind was a well-polished hoax on the back of NASA and other organisations is familiar folklore: one that permeates conspiracy theories across the planet.

So perhaps it is not so strange that within any context of “authentic” evidence, there is a stand-off with a counter-narrative of a spurious nature. My project proposal for the Prix Elysée takes the stolen and missing Goodwill Moon Rocks of the Apollo 11 and 17 missions as its point of departure. Of the 270 moon rocks that were given to the nations of the world by the Nixon administration, approximately 180 are currently unaccounted for. Within those that remain at large, beyond the researchers and hobbyists that have tracked down some of the specimens, a culture of emergent forgery and theft has high-jacked proceedings. In 1998 an undercover federal law enforcement operation, code named “Operation Lunar Eclipse”, was created to identify and arrest individuals selling bogus moon rocks and dust.

Under the auspices of such an undercover operation, my proposal would be to create an archive of potential moon rock findings that investigates the numerous contexts in which such specimens could potentially be found. The images themselves would both harbour and embed narrative details from actual sightings and reports within a series of diverse locations, whilst imaginatively playing with the notion of fiction as an indexical “framing” device that informs the fabrication of the images.

My more recent work has started to conflate narratives of space exploration and escapist “fantasy” within the secluded interior and the “everyday”, which further informs the context of this proposal.”