Moni Hayworth: Creating Her Own Documentaries

on Thursday, Feb. 10th

I’ve never actually met Moni Hayworth, but I feel as if I know her. I stumbled across her amazing photo blog, Johnny’s Bird, and was blown away by her pictures.  She seems like, hands-down, one of the coolest chicks in the world. Her work is so much more than posed models in pretty clothes. It’s raw, urgent, sometimes uncomfortable to view, and very beautiful.  We conducted our interview via instant messages and email.

Bryn Nordenson: You’re documenting a slice of a particular kind of London life that seems almost magical in its alien-ness. How do you find these places? It’s as if they exist in a parallel reality.

Moni Hayworth: Yeah, it’s a small part of East London, but everyone is living the same waster-ish life. I think people love to hate those girls more than they actually love them! They’re so easy to find. It’s like a square mile of London that is chock-full of squats and outsider-fashion people and artists and just tons of the stuff that I love to nose into.

BN: You produce so many images.  You’re prolific. Do you edit, or do they all go in?

MH: Too many! I click non-stop when I’m shooting, because I like the moments between the posed pictures. Sometimes I don’t get enough of a thing to make a good story, so I leave those images out.

BN: If you opened the site up to purchasing, I bet you’d have a lot of buyers.

MH: You think? I wish I could think of an idea to earn money from it without compromising it in any way… I have never earned money from taking photos, ever!

BN: Many artists are photographers, but not all photographers are artists. A lot of photographers with less vision are making fortunes because they’re good technicians. Does it piss you off?

MH: Well, that sounds a little bit precious, but I guess that’s it. I did try to get work when I was starting out, but I found it really stressful to try and get other people’s visions right… and it actually put me off taking photos in the end. It was just so boring,  so I began doing other stuff for money, and shooting what I wanted. The blog is just for the love and the fun, and I’m so fascinated by the lives that I shoot. It’s an addiction, really.

BN: Now, do you style them most times? The clothes, the clothes! I could go on and on!

MH: Most times I do. They have good clothes generally, but to make it larger than life and to take it to another level of ridiculousness, I like putting my own stuff in. Since I have so much, it’s easy. It also gives me a great excuse to buy stuff all the time, the more trashy and horrible the better!

BN: Your eye! You see beauty in things that most people don’t. Some of my favorite images of yours are of random objects.

MH: Yeah, the objects are all theirs. I never take actual stuff  into their places. I love all those details, the dog shampoos and the hairbrushes clogged with a month’s worth of hair, and the remains of last night’s shitty dinner, etc.

BN: Sometimes it’s pretty disgusting. The kitty litter box on the stairs comes to mind!

MH: Yeah, kitty trays are so good. I love then to move on to the beauty of the person. I just love taking things up then bringing them right back to trash level again!

Part Two of our interview will be published tomorrow. Moni Hayworth’s work can be seen on www.johnnysbird.com.

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