Grimoire’s featured artist for Issue VII is Claudia Amuedo, an emerging photographer working in Seville, Spain. Self-taught, she began taking photographs at 17 with a camera gifted to her by her mother. When she contacted us, we were immediately struck by her otherworldly images and their sense of timelessness, the gothic, and the fairytale. Tinged by melancholy, dominated by images of women, and with a sense of the disturbing and unsettling, we knew we had found a kindred spirit. Read on to learn more about her influences, her process, and her attraction to lost things.
To begin, could you speak to your influences—what artists (in any genre or medium) have made the most impact on your work, and how?
When I first started with photography, the first series I took were inspired by the work of an Italian illustrator named Virginia Mori. It consisted of several self portraits in which I wore a black dress with a white collar, similar to those worn by the girls she drew. They were surreal images simulating the essence of her illustrations.
Since then, I have discovered other works from different female photographers, such as Mira Nedyalkova, Katie Eleanor, Natalia Drepina, Magdalena Lutek (Nishe), Aëla Labbé, Helena Aguilar Mayans, Dara Scully, Juliette Bates, Crystal Lee Lucas, Aida Pascual, Laura Makabresku, Evelyn Bencicova, Marta Bevacqua, Alison Scarpulla, and Berta Vicente. All of them make a type of photography that adapts to my preferences and tastes.
On the other hand, illustrations, folk tales, and movies have been one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me: the bond between animals and nature with women in Alexandra Dvornikova’s illustrations, Amy Earles’ witches, the monsters and the phantasmagorical atmospheres illustrated by John Kenn Mortensen, the stories that my older sister used to tell me at bedtime, movies and Gothic narratives. I could say that, to a greater or lesser extent, all of this influences my work.
Your work uses photography to create dream-like and haunting environments and characters. What attracts you to photography as a medium? What is your process for creating these images?
What attracts me to photography is its great ability to convey a message and a set of feelings or emotions. We are able to tell a story with no need for words —there is no language barrier—and for many people, photography can be a kind of protest, a way to treasure memories, or an easy and direct way to show your inner world to others.
The creation process I follow is always the same: I write and make sketches about thoughts and ideas in a notebook. This is very useful for shaping the most abstract concepts and it helps as a guide for the models when I want to explain how they should pose. I always consider essential the search for a suitable costume as well as the objects to be use. Sometimes it takes a while to prepare everything (find a backdrop to make the photograph, ensure the availability of the model, etc.). So once I have everything well organized, I start taking photos.
Your work has a sense of the historical, with references to Victorian Spiritualist séances and subjects in vintage and antique clothing, and also of being out of time—your images of women with animals, in particular, feel almost storybook or fairytale. Could you say more about your work’s relationship to time and narratives of the past?
I find a certain beauty in the past, and that’s why I like to evoke it. I have always been fascinated by past eras, especially those between the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. I’m attracted by the clothes of that time, the design of the houses, and by certain customs that were and have been lost.
The Victorian era was very mystical and romantic, so I try to make my photos to have a similar style to this period through the clothes worn by the models and the objects that appear in the scenes. With all these historical references, I seek to create my own fictional past.
Your work is so ghostly and eerily beautiful, we have to ask: what are your favorite stories of ghosts and/or the supernatural?
Although it’s hard for me to choose between so many stories, I would say that “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Oval Portrait” by Edgar Allan Poe are two of my favorite stories.
What projects are you working on right now? Where can we find your work and support you as an artist?
Currently, my goal is to continue creating and developing my own style gradually. I would also like to exhibit my work soon, sell prints online of my own photographs, and keep searching for new models to work with.
You will find my photos on Instagram (@claudia.amuedo) and Flickr so I’d be very grateful if you help me by sharing my work (while giving me credit) and leaving comments on my profile.
Claudia Amuedo (1994, Spain) is a self-taught photographer who lives in Seville. Her first contact with photography was at the age of 17, when her mother gave her first camera. In her photos, Claudia seeks to create dreamlike scenes that may well seem to be taken from a movie or a fairy tale. The cold tonalities, especially blue colors, often reflect the melancholy and innocence of their characters. Claudia shoots in digital, trying sometimes to show an analogous aspect of her work by creating a period atmosphere.