Amaya Ducru Clothier

Amaya took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Roma Vaccaro about her inspirations, course and what she will be doing next.

What course have you been studying at LCF?

I studied on the FdA Fashion Styling and Photography and I am now graduating with a BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Photography (now BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Production), having completed the Top Up year.

Why did you feel inspired to study this subject area?

After finishing my French Baccalaureate in Paris, I was torn between studying Literature and History of Art in Paris, or Visual Arts in London. I have always been very interested and involved in exhibitions and films and had done a few work experience placements in fashion, but never really thought it would be for me. Whilst doing my Foundation Diploma at Chelsea College of Art and Design, in fashion textiles, I found I was always using and incorporating visuals and the art which is around fashion, into my work. I applied to the course and enrolled, not really knowing much about photography, simply knowing I wanted to make visuals.

Who or what has inspired you creatively in your life?

My first encounter with fashion was while working at the Castelbajac Studio in Paris. There, I found that fashion could be some sort of place in which every other art could play a role and that is really what inspired me at first. In particular, while studying surrealism in art and literature, or how some image and film makers would play with the point of view, the dream and the constructive side of negative space, I became more aware of the work of photographers such as Blumenfeld, Bourdin, Aldridge, Knight and Walker amongst others. However, I always kept a very close eye on a broader side of art, counting film, and modern and contemporary art as heavy influences on my work.

How have you found studying at LCF?

On the whole, I have enjoyed my time at LCF. The best bits would be the way students collaborate and interchange knowledge. The mix is one of the elements students learn much from, each participating with what they have to input. Great studios and facilities are available for us to produce and realise what we dream of in our heads. Some of the tutors and technicians are really to be looked up to for their knowledge, support and passion for what they do. As a whole, the relationships I have encountered with other peers were fantastic, people I hope to - and I am sure I will - work with in the future.

How do you feel London as a city influences a student creatively?

London has an immensely open mind and nothing really seems that surprising. From far away, it looks like a place that gobbles up everything and everyone in it. It allows you to find your own creative niche and identity. Maybe it can be so broad and overwhelming that one might feel a little lost - but it is great, fun and free.

Where are you from originally and how do the two places compare?

I am already from quite an international background, half French, half Mexican, born and brought up in Paris. Paris and London differ in many respects and one thing I never want to cease being, is Parisian. Both are places where nothing is given to you. You have to strive to get where you want to be, convinced that you can do it, but for sure London has a less winding road than Paris. Both are grey, though London's grey has something much more oppressing about it and is harder to adapt too. Also, London can have a more outrageous and original side, whereas I feel the easy culture access in Paris is better for the general public than in London, especially within film and cinema.

Tell us about your final project and what inspired it.

After much research and diversions, it all led me to explore the idea of the visual expression of the memory in contemporary fashion photography, through the duality between the absence and presence of the body. I was inspired by images, films, art pieces and texts that used memory as a pictorial tool to represent the presence or absence of someone, one being the certificate of the other. It all seems quite complex, but in reality it was an extremely enriching experience, as I really had to dig into theory, contemporary and historical practices and a wide range of cultural expressions.

Did the ideas change during the creation process?

My actual final project derived from a previous idea I had been working on. I was looking at the emergence of the body or of its essence within fashion still life. I found it hard to concentrate simply on that, and limit the research. I have always had a tendency to digress from idea to idea and we had an extremely enlightening lecture series during the first term. Inspired by these, I felt I had to let my desire to move forward, leading the way into what became my final major project.

Has it been influenced by things in your life/family/experiences/anything else?

I have worked as Assistant to Miles Aldridge. I was always struck by how his models have a present body but an absent person. They seem vacant but present at the same time. This was something that really intrigued me. In addition, for the visual portfolio of work, I used some of my own photographs and visuals from when I was much younger, photographs of people that I have loved, or objects that have some sort of meaning within my personal space.

What are your thoughts about finishing the student life and going into the 'real world'?

Scared, intrigued, maybe a little lost but excited of course! I have actually applied to an MA as I really want to push my studies further into the field of visual communications. I feel I need this in order to feel prepared to work not only in fashion photography, but also in art direction, advertising and editorial.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It is the sort of question my parents ask me and to which I always find myself shaking a little- I would say simply loving what I do!

How does digital technology and social media affect what you have studied and want to work on eventually?

I am very intrigued by digital media, technology and the seemingly impossible and amazing things it can do. Digital has a mixed reputation, but most will agree that within photography, film has some sort of sentimental feel that digital does not have. Social media has facilitated communication and the way one can show and advertise work, referencing and providing access to what is being produced. But then again, there is as a result more on the market.

Will you come back and share your knowledge/skills/experience with future students at LCF?

I would be happy to yes, I love what I do and I think teaching has to be done through passion for what you know and do. I have received a lot of it and feel it would be great to give it back.