Amanda Charchian uses fine art, photography, film and sculpture to create intimate experiences with her subjects, art and nature. Based in Los Angeles, Amanda has been featured in major publications internationally and is now working on an exciting collaboration with female artists. With a Cuba trip and a book coming up we talked to our new ambassador about her take on photography, the human body and travelling.
Your heritage is from Iran, a country that still places a lot of limitations to women’s creative expression. So, what lead you to become an artist?
I’ve always been making things and it was natural for me to be a maker. I remember when I told my family really early on, that I was going to keep doing it, they were confused, because they didn’t necessarily had a precedent for that. I think that they had to leave that oppressive regime for me to be able to do what I do now.
Yeah, you would have had a completely different life. A lot of your work requires collaboration with your beautiful subjects. Who are some these people?
They are usually my friends. I am working on a book and I have specifically decided to work with female artists and try to create an experience for the both of us to be creative. I do work with models when the time is right. Sometimes it just starts out as model and then becomes my friend. It is basically a magnification of intimacy and creating an experience together – it becomes a faster way to connect with somebody in an intimate space.
Your photos do seem very intimate. Why are women your main subject?
I think is a matter of feeling connected and it’s different to work with men. It probably has to do with our cultural conditioning, our expectations of the opposite sex or not knowing enough of them. I have never had the experience of shooting a male that it was as profound.
Does it have anything to do with our bodies?
The body is so political, it has some many rules and restrictions and it hasn’t been allowed to grow as fast as technology. We still have the same restrictions that have been happening for centuries even though technology and we are changing as a culture. So, these photographs are always a way for me to take that back.
You work with so many artistic mediums. What’s the role of photography in your practice?
It is almost like a tool to experience life. It’s a way to occupy our time until we die. For an artist it’s all reaction based, whether it is to your internal world or your external world. Photography is just more natural to me, and maybe for the next person is music, they are essentially a way to externalise our experiences. I don’t think photography is more or less important, it can be a way to mask or express yourself.
Why do you prefer film photography?
Digital photography just doesn’t have the physicality that I like.
Do you have any favourite place in nature?
Last week I went and saw these coral formations that used to be underwater in California. They come out of the water and reflect on it, it is a really beautiful place. I shoot in nature because is very freeing and when you’re trying to do nudity if there is a lot of people around they are judging and looking. I like the quietness when I am doing my fine art work and it’s just the other person, the sounds of nature and me.
So, what’s your next adventure?
I am going to Cuba in early May. Honestly, I want to go everywhere.
And how do you plan your work while traveling?
Usually I don’t have a plan. The whole point of going in an adventure is to have that freedom.
Apart from a camera, what else do you carry in your bag?
Usually I carry around these color filters, meters, gels, color powder, just little things that will make the picture different.