Amanda Charchian Exclusive Interview for AnyOne,Girl
Los Angeles based photographer Amanda Charchian embodies as much love and light into her work as she does into her own lifestyle. Her pictures are as playful as the ocean’s edge and a strong as the Californian sun. Full of youth and freedom, Charchian creates pictures that make you melt a little bit and give in to the divine and unknown. A place she believes exists inside all of us and is adamant to show us the way.
AnyOne,Girl: When did you start taking an interest in taking photos?
Amanda Charchian: It all began in the high school darkroom. It wasn’t just taking pictures that really got me, it was the object of the photograph that kept me there. Watching the photograph appear suddenly on the paper is pure magic. In one second, it is a blank white paper under a red light and the next an image that was taken in the past appears in the present. Now, the mystery manifests in different ways than it did then but remains an integral part of the practice.
AOG: Do you find it a male dominant industry? How does this help/disadvantage you?
AC: I’m not really an industry conscious person. My experience of media is very self curated. Perhaps it is a male dominated industry, but my personal photography heros are my female photographer friends in their 20’s. I have just curated a photography show to celebrate 7 all analog international female photographer’s called “Pheromone Hotbox.” The show features the work of Ellen Rogers, Aela Labbe, Stella Berkofsky, Alison Scarpulla, Ana Kras, Logan White and myself. The
show is about the confounded biological process that pheromones endure when one woman photographs another and how the experience elucidates the darkness of the contemporary female psyche.
AOG: Where do you get your inspirations from? In both art and fashion?
AC: My devotion to mystery, hidden and subtle energies keep my inspirations very subconscious. I rarely try to invoke a particular mood, thus my inspirations are the very things I cannot describe. I gravitate towards things that show the journey from darkness into light, things that feel strange and quiet complexities. As for fashion, I wear 95% vintage and antique clothes. Lace from the 20s, Victorian era blouses, 30’s silk velvet, 90’s floral minis, 70’s platforms, 40’s suit jackets, lot’s of high waisted mini skirts, and T-Strap heels. I’m a fancy girl, you will rarely find me in anything denim.
AOG: Which women inspire you and why?
AC: There are so many! Yoko Ono because her work is simple yet powerful and incredibly strong in its message. I’ve always felt a soul based kinship with her. Some people saw her earlier work with John Lennon as another example of the naivety and failed idealism of the 60s, but what they did was powerful in a sense that their life was a declaration of peace. It is an incredibly advanced spiritual notion to declare peace, become peace within your own being and allow that to alchemize within your own consciousness, thus creating peace where it didn’t exist before.
Francesca Woodmen because she wasn’t afraid to explore the darkness of her emotions through her work. Even though both her parents were artists, she found a strong voice of her own. Unfortunately she jumped out of a building at the age of 23. The body of work she left behind is some of my favorite images because I too am no stranger to the depth of human emotion. Some people try to hide their vulnerabilities, but for some that is where their genuine strength comes from.
Louise Bourgeois because she kept making work with an undying focus even when she was getting ignored by the art world. She was creating narrative based sculpture at a time when the art world could only digest abstract formalism. Eventually she became recognized for the unstoppable poetic force that she was. She was creating art until she died at 101. As a female she was able to use the ignition of her anger towards her father in her work instead of taking it out on him. Often times we need to understand that our reactions do not have to be taken out negatively on others, that we can process them in our own beings. Such is the beauty of being an artist, to become an alchemist and use the material of our own lives to create transformation.
AOG: I know you love living in LA, what is about LA that draws you to live there?
AC: California is incredibly progressive when it comes to health, art and music. I need to be around creative energy, new ideas, and conscious people. I love to travel and make a point to visit two new countries a year and always appreciate it significantly more when I come back. It’s the light, the ability to drive to the mountain, desert and beach in one day. The city has such a magical, shape-shifting nature that allows you to make whatever you can imagine of it and yourself. The malleability of the landscape lends itself well to creative people. It also has an incredibly rich occult history that I am interested in.
AOG: Describe your home in LA.
AC: I live with my boyfriend in the Silverlake area of east LA. His name is Guy Blakeslee and he is actually finger picking acoustic guitar as I type this. Our home is wonderfully magical, complete with a “Love Manifestation Station” where people’s dreams and wishes are burned on nights of the full or new moon. Every morning we wake up in thousands of rainbows on our walls because there are many crystals hanging from the window. We have an ever changing alter that says the word “YES”
in gold tape above it. I have collected a bit of 80’s and 90’s glass furniture and a tufted white leather couch. It is an eclectic mix of a mirrored dressers, an antique Chinese painted headboard, Victorian vanity table and persian rugs my parents brought when they escaped Iran. Between the two of us, it is a center for creative activity. In addition to music, Guy makes a lot of collages from vintage magazines and I am always working on photos. I do my fine art based work in my studio which is a car ride away but is my second home.
AOG: What would you say your style is? Does this change when you are working?
AC: I don’t look at my old work enough to reflect or name a style, I am constantly in the process of making. I like obscured images, multiple exposures, light leaks and what most technical photographer’s would consider mistakes. I am a surrealist at heart, so I value any signs of the strange, surprising, or mysterious. Everything I do is entirely intuitive as my nature is one of quick response to my surroundings and there is very little interest in contriving a “look.” I am always experimenting so my process is far from formulaic and everything is always in flux.
AOG: What camera do you have with you at all times?
AC: My iphone! But usually a 35mm Canon AE-1, Contax T2, or Yashica T4 point and shoot.
AOG: What is always important to you when you work?
AC: Keeping a sense of freedom, raw intimacy, rebelliousness, and keeping a youthful and spontaneous sensibility. I like to ignite and arouse people and see what happens based on our energy exchange.
AOG: What online sites/blogs/artists do you follow?
I don’t look at a lot of blogs but I do love Marina Dellamore’s blog “Cosmic Machine” http://cosmicmachine.blogspot.com/
It is incredibly well curated and saturated with inspirational images for all eras.
A music blog I have always loved is called “Ghost Capital” He uploads rare soulful vinyl I would never hear otherwise. My
favorite things he has uploaded so far are the Mississippi Records mixtapes you would normally online find at their shop in Portland. http://ghostcapital.blogspot.com/
Another music blog I love is “Excavated Shellac” which is a blog dedicated to 78rpm recordings from around the world.
I like instagram because it is photography based. On there I follow this artist named Colette Saint Yves, Yoko Ono, Cat Power and my friend Alia Penner. My own personal instagram is @amandacharchian
AOG: Do you have any side projects going on aside form your photography work?
AC: I also make sculpture and am very passionate about it. They take a long time and are expensive to make so I am not as prolific in that area. This is the reason that is important for me to make this work as well, because it is meditative and slow in a way that photography is not. They are prismatic hanging crystal figures that reflect thousands of rainbows in their surroundings when in contact with sunlight. I have created them as a reflection of out etheric bodies which are our spiritual light bodies. I plan to have a solo show with 5 of them hanging from the ceiling of a white room. I imagine it to be a very transcendental experience.
(editor’s note: I recently interviewed Amanda for WOW Magazine too- which you can read here!)blog comments powered by Disqus