- Amanda Charchian
- Posted 12 months ago by staff · Art & Design · 9598 Views
If there's one thing we've learnt while running HUH., it's that naked people in photographs stir up a whole load of debate. Many people feel like the whole "naked and free" thing has been done to death by popular photographers like Ryan McGinley while others just feel it is wholly unnecessary. Of course, for all the people who hate it, there are just as many who love it, so to hear both sides of the story we asked LA-based photographer Amanda Charchian why she asks her subjects to ditch the clothes.
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 23 years old and I am from Los Angeles, where I currently live and work. My parents emigrated from Iran in the late 70s and freed themselves from political, cultural, and gender based oppression by coming to America.
Most of your photographs are nudes - why is that?
I like my images to have a timeless quality, I shoot to freeze time. Contemporary fashion is obsessed with time, so I tend to end up being frustrated by it. Clothes can be fun, but they intend to cover and I intend to reveal.
I suppose that I have a bit of a rebellious nature, so my shoots often start with clothes and then end up with the girl, naked in a body of water. Not because I dislike fashion, but skin is more honest and raw than fashion and ends up locking the photograph in a sense of time that I am constantly rebelling against. I don't want to make work that is really decoration for someone else's art.
Also, nudity still, especially in America, arouses so much controversy and reflects its current stunted cultural condition. For example, I was just doing an editorial out in the desert of California, and there were eight girls and a couple of pairs of tits were showing. The park rangers came by and had to pretend to sincerely be offended by the beautiful women in their sight and kicked us out of the park, but instead of actually leaving we had to go further into the desert and blow shit up. God knows they are still wanking off to the image I created for them now. Ha!
Do you prefer shooting nude women to nude men?
I definitely prefer nude women. Maybe it is because I wake up next to a nude man every morning, I revel in using photography as an exploratory medium to conjure up spontaneous experimentation. The dynamic between women creating together is indescribable really, there is a certain trust and simultaneous mischievousness that happens. Sort of like in the Czech New Wave film "Daisies."
Some people would see your work as sexual, is this intended?
I am interested in the effect sex has on the psyche. In fact, I am in the middle of a photography based project called "Pheromone Hotbox" in which I invite women and men that I am only slightly acquainted with to come into my bed and get as nude as they are comfortable with, and as we hang out our attraction/disharmony and eventual mixing of pheromones creates the images. The results become quite varied, for example if I dislike the way the subject smells, the photos end up being shot from a distance that is really pronounced. But if we really hit it off, the photos become more intimate, open and expressive. It has become a bit of a psychological and sociological experiment in which people's insecurities, modes of arousal and vanity become really evident.
Who or what inspires you?
Mystery, the occult sciences, surrealism, women, and the inextricable relationship between dark and light. But first and foremost light would be my main inspiration. Photography is a light based medium, and I do that pretty incessantly. But when I need a more meditative and slow moving aspect of my practice, I also make crystal sculptures that use sunlight to creates thousands of prismatic light reflections in its circumference.