AMANDA LOUISE MACCHIA
The multiculturalism that has accompanied Amanda during her life, especially in her professional growth has led her to delve deeply into Pop art and Post-Neorealism. Thus being able to value the power of aesthetics in any type of expression and how important it is when creating new ideas to translate her visual work into fashion; She is aware of what it means to be part of a story, she witnesses the development of models with her role at Ford Models Paris and through the lens, she creates and projects the fascinating stories that we can all contemplate. Photos, videos, books, and a hurricane of imagination.
Interview by Andy Durán. Photography by Amanda Louise Macchia
You have been academically trained between New York, Toronto, and Paris, tell us how your beginnings were in each of these different cities. What did you learn and what experiences would you highlight from each of them for having helped you in your professional growth?
I grew up in Toronto, eventually moved to New York, and am now based in Paris. I studied in all of these places but a lot of what I learned came from conducting research and interviews for early documentary films I was directing. They were focused mainly on photography and countercultures of the second half of the 20th century. The time I spent with their subjects, such as Marcia Resnick and Barrie Wentzell, has also informed the work I do now, particularly with regards to how I develop ideas and value aesthetics.
I am one of those who thinks that fusion of contrasts is the key to success in almost all artistic expressions, you as Italian-Canadian based in Paris could tell us what it has meant to you have the influence of each of these countries in your personal, professional and artistic development?
I have always lived between European and North American cultures. Growing up in Canada, there is an inevitable influence of American and British culture, which gave rise to my fascination with pop art. But the influence of my Italian heritage and my current home in France expanded that influence into the post-Neorealism era of Italian cinema and the French New Wave era of French cinema, which are in many ways parallel references to my earlier inspirations which continue to impact my work in fashion.
Now let's talk a little about Fashion films and photography, one of your talents and that in these times that we live in has been the main tool for designers to present their collections. How the passion for video and photography arises in you. What have been your references, your most relevant works, and the best experiences you have had behind the camera?
Pop art, in both concept and aesthetic, remains to be what most strongly inspires my work in fashion film and photography, along with the aforementioned film movements of the '60s and '70s. I think the idea of blurring the boundaries between high and low art translates well when creating content designed for both high fashion and for mass consumption, as well as the blurring of lines between fine art and advertisement.
I often challenge myself to see what I can create using everyday materials. One of my projects that resonated strongly with a lot of people was an editorial inspired by John Baldessari for Schön! Magazine, in which I recycled his famous concept of using price stickers as dots on faces, but altered it to emphasize clothing and to function as stop-motion video. This was in 2019, and in a way, it was my foray into developing a kind of fashion-heavy pop art for the 21st century.
Do you consider that video in fashion can play an active role in a change of how brands approach communication, and why not, define a new era?
As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” Undoubtedly video has taken on a new role as social channels and fashion shows evolve and it is an integral part of communication in any client-facing industry.
How do you see the future of fashion in the short term if we talk about video and photography? What do you think is and could be your greatest contribution in the industry, and how do you think you differ from the rest?
What I am most interested in personally is how to develop new ways of incorporating old mediums into future content, instead of abandoning them in the wake of new technologies. For example, just because we have access to innovations like VR, it does not mean we have exhausted all of the possibilities of photography.
My goal is to continue developing video as a medium as it takes centre stage, and to keep it contextualized in strong references to relevant artistic movements.
What would be fashion without faces or images? You work in the art department at Ford Models, tell us how you got to work in one of the oldest agencies and what it has meant for you to be part of it.
Models are to fashion what actors are to film - the mediums could exist without them but they wouldn’t be the same. Models have the unique ability to simultaneously heighten and humanize an image, moving or otherwise. I began working as the art department in the Paris office of Ford Models this year. Working for such a reputable and relevant agency means being part of both a strong history and an influential present.
From the outside, Ford Models shines by itself, could you tell us a little about the agency, the structure of the work, and the role you play in it?
Ford Models was founded by Eileen Ford in New York City in the 1940s, where the company is still headquartered, and with other offices around the United States and of course, Paris. Leading the art department in Paris means working with models at an array of levels from our different boards - the mainboard, new faces, and talent, as represented in the photos throughout this article. Part of working at any art department means influencing and witnessing the development of models through a lens, which video is becoming a more significant part of.
Which of your jobs has given you the most personal satisfaction and why?
Anytime I’m making a photo or video work there is a strong visual satisfaction during the creation of the images, but not to be overlooked is the satisfaction of seeing a project through from conceptualization to actualization.
Which of your exhibitions, publications, and works, would you highlight for how well you had a good time doing them, as well as for the professional and personal contribution they generated in you?
Earlier this year I released my first music project, which was a reinterpretation of the Italo-disco song “Gloria” and an accompanying stop-motion visualizer consisting of instant film self-portraits. This was the first personal project I had completed in a long while, and it was an encapsulation of the different mediums and cultures that continue to impact my overall body of work.
Finally, tell us what are your closest projects, what are you currently immersed in and where would you like to go in the future both personally and professionally?
I am currently working on a book of the instant film photographs I have taken for various fashion-related projects over the past couple of years, which has been highly influenced by Andy Warhol, and I would like to continue developing unique ways of creating this same sense of urgency and beauty in my work, along with irony and tangibility, throughout the ever-changing digital landscape.