Claire Oring is a twenty-two year old artist from Los Angeles. She’s worked for commercial clients such as Urban Outfitters and Free People, and today the photographer is making her debut on Ben Trovato with a magic and mysterious story entitled Conjure.
“In Conjure I wanted to represent young heroines secretly practicing witchcraft in a time when it was forbidden,” Claire explains before adding: “- Nature is an important ingredient in the series. All of the settings are characters, as are earth, air, wind, and fire. I used a lot of different processing techniques. I made double exposures on 35 mm and 120 mm film, I used photoshop compositing, and I burned the top of prints with fire to achieve variations in color and texture. I also threw in props and special effects here and there like fog juice, fire, and dry ice.”
The shoot was well planned and every single frame was sketched out before the shoot: “- I usually know what I want the picture to look like before I ever release the shutter. That being said, every idea was an experiment. Everything was organic. It’s impossible for me to control the elements, control the weather, control nature. That’s always been my favorite part of photography. I love the surprise factor. I’ve learned I need to surrender control and let each picture take on a life of it’s own.”
Conjure was inspired by Arthur Miller’s play the Crucible, and from a book of love spells Claire bought when she was eleven. But her shoots used to be a lot more spontaneous and less conceptual than Conjure: “- In the past 8 months I’ve been trying to focus all my creative energy into specific series with fully realized concepts behind them. Then when a location, poem, painting, person, or song inspires me it’s more challenging because I have to make it relevant to that specific project. I always have a new notebook for each project to sketch my ideas in.”
Although she’s usually a one-man-show, Claire reveals she couldn’t have realized her idea without her friends: “- I’m usually a one-man show. I like to see each frame from concept through to editing. I do however have a lovely sister and an arsenal of friends that I am lucky to have as models.”
They are willing to sit in freezing water, walk barefoot in spider-infested woods, stick their heads in pumpkins, and strip off their clothes in odd locations for me, which I’m grateful for.
“I style them myself. They usually wear a combination of vintage items I specifically pull for a series or things I pull from my own wardrobe. When shoots get really complicated and I need extra hands I turn to my trusty assistants Sara and Katie.”
The past few months she’s been working with Urban Outfitters and The Impossible Project shooting a series of photos using their great new polaroid film. The photos are one display in the Impossible gallery space in New York City until the 11th of January. If you’re nearby, make sure to check it out!
And after that? “- I’m going to be collaborating with Lomography in January and will be giving a lecture in their West Hollywood space sometime that month so check my website soon for the date! I’m also in production on a new series of photos and a couple stop motion projects that will be out late January. After that I’ll be off on a couple international photo adventures.“