I love talking with photographers to get their insider tips and secrets – photographers all have their own style and method behind the work they produce and are always so inspiring. I recently discovered the gorgeous work of Amanda Charchian, who creates magical, other-wordly images that take my breath away. Learn more about her photography secrets below!
Where do you live?
I live in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, CA. We have a magical life filled beauty and art. We wake up every morning covered in thousands of rainbows because the sun rises through our prism filled window. The light in California is simply divine!
What kind of camera do you shoot with?
I confess that I am a vintage camera hound, always scouring thrift stores and flea markets all over the world to buy old point and shoots, SLRs and twin reflexes from all eras. I’ve even converted discontinued 126 film cameras to take 35mm rolls.
I really embrace over/under exposure, expired, cross processed slide film and accidental multiple exposures. As a lover of mystery and abnormality, I tend to choose the images on a roll with the strangest quality, and from a technical view point that means the shots with “mistakes.”
What is your favorite subject to shoot?
Real women. Raw moments. Ritual acts.
My favorite images are the result of very intimate shoots. Although I have worked with a big crew, I revel and thrive in the meditative and divine spark of a low production shoot. Where the subject and I are engaging in otherworldly vision and the camera falls out of sight. The photograph becomes a result of our creative energetic exchange that is aroused by a certain level of transcendence from the expectations associated with the traditional role of artist and muse. I prefer subtle poetry, to carry over that feeling I have alone in the studio, rather than a big Hollywood production.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
Light is my main inspiration, first and foremost in both photography and sculpture. All religions were originally sun worshiping, and I too am a light worker of sorts. Whether it is the flare through my lens or turning prisms until the maximum amount of rainbows are reflected from it, I am working with light. My art practice is inextricable from my spiritual practice. I’ve always cited the British philosopher Alan Watts as an inspiration for my work in terms of the way I approach it. He has a piece called “Work As Play” that discusses the zen attitude towards eradicating the anxiety ridden binary between leisure and work. If the manner in which you work mirrors the way you play, no matter how seriously, you will be really living. He says, “You have to come to the point where going over it again and again is a dance.”
Some of my favorite artists right now happen to be my very dear friends. For more inspiration check out Alia Penner, Lavender Diamond, Ana Kras, Logan White, Astral Eyes, The Entrance Band, Ariana Delawari, Tamaryn, Lola Rose Thompson and fellow artists at The Tappan Collective. They are all doing really important creative work.
What are some things you’re currently obsessed with?
I love the sculptors David Altmejd and the late Louise Bourgeois. And always and forever Yoko Ono.
I think the only thing I can truly say I am obsessed with besides art making is traveling. I will go anywhere if someone proposes an opportunity! Some of my favorite work has bean made abroad and I just came back from participating in an art show in Switzerland called “Death Can Dance.”
In the last few years I have been fortunate to explore Egypt, Israel, France, China, Colombia, Germany, Italy, England, and Costa Rica on separate trips.
If you could travel to any time in history, in any place, for a photo shoot, when and where would you go?
Absolutely Ancient Egypt! When I was in Egypt a few years ago, I was really struck by the moving ancient energy in the air. It was as if my senses went back in time but my physical body stayed in the present. I shoot film because the film grain captures the ether around you, the air that vibrates. And I would go to Ancient Egypt to explore that mysterious feeling. The orphic tales of Ancient Egypt and their unconditional devotion to the spirit realm is absolutely fascinating to me. But hopefully this time I would get in trouble for trying to climb the pyramids!
Can you tell us about any projects you’re working on right now or that you have coming up?
I’m very excited about my current projects. There are always many simultaneous artistic efforts that I am involved in, and my current practice has a good balance between studio time with sculptures and out in the world photo shoots.
I am starting a new series of crystal sculptures that evolved from my two previous hanging crystal pieces, “The Initiate” and “Bourgeois Hysteria.” They will be used in a very ambitious photo series as a collaboration with Artist Astral Eyes for Swoon magazine. I can’t disclose all the details but it explores ancient folklore with contemporary technology.
Check out more of Amanda’s work here!
More creative inspiration from the BLDG 25 Blog.
Shop summer dresses from Free People.