a flame-haired artist and photographer from Los Angeles
Claire Oring, a flame-haired artist and photographer from Los Angeles, culls her inspiration from all over the world—not a hard feat considering she’s seen a lot of it. Her far-flung travels have taken her from Scotland to New Zealand to Morraco and back again, always with her camera in tow. We’re excited to announce Claire as our newest collaborator and caught up with her to talk cameras, ancient legends and adventure:
If you had to narrow down everything you do, what would your job title be?
Artist/Explorer. That’s what I put on my business cards anyway.
What’s the most incredible adventure you’ve been on so far?
This summer I went to the Isles of Skye and Lewis off the northwest coast of Scotland for a personal photography series called “Midsummer Skye.” I was wandering around the Fairy Glens and 5,000-year-old circles of standing stones.
Are you interested in folklore then?
I love fairytales, legends and history lessons so learning about the local folklore was incredibly interesting. I also hired an archeologist to drive me around on the day of the shoot and give me insight into each location.
Where are you headed next?
I’m dreaming about Machu Picchu in Peru because I want to hike the Inca Trail. I’m also looking into the logistics of traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway, which goes from Moscow through Mongolia to Beijing.
What’s the one travel story you can’t wait to tell your grandchildren?
When I was studying in London, some of my friends from LA came to town and we went to see a friend’s band play. At the end of the night everyone jumped onto the tube with all of their instruments. One thing led to another and we turned the train compartment into a dance party. Everyone was playing music and dancing and singing and each time the train made a stop more people got on and joined us. By the end of the track we had befriend many a stranger.
What’s a good method for avoiding that “I’m a tourist” feeling in a new place?
I’m really pale and covered in freckles and I often dress like an old lady at a tea party with five cameras on my body, so I stick out. Just embrace your tourist status and greet everyone with a big smile.
What do you always have in your suitcase?
I always bring a lead bag for undeveloped film, an extra duffle for new trinkets I buy, a sketchbook and mini-watercolor set, and playlists that compliment my destination.
What cameras do you like to use?
My favorite has to be my 1956 Rolleiflex; it’s so dreamy! I also love my Contax T3 35mm, Pentax 35mm and Dianna+ for double exposures. I also use a 600 Polaroid with Impossible film and keep my Nikon Fun Touch 3 in my purse just in case.
How did you achieve so much success at such a young age? Any tips for budding photographers?
I graduated a year ago, and since then I’ve been alternating between commercial and personal work. I spent the summer after graduating creating a few series so I would have a portfolio to show potential clients. A few companies contacted me with ideas for collaborations from seeing those images floating around the Internet. The most beneficial thing I’ve done over the past six months was introduce myself to companies that promote creativity. Take the first step and send them a link to your website and you have nothing to lose.
If you had access to any place or person, what would you shoot?
I want to shoot a series in Petra, Jordan. It’s breathtaking and to shoot there would be a dream come true.
What three major things have you checked off your bucket list already?
Bungee jumping in New Zealand, moving to a city alone to study abroad, and shooting a series with mermaids.
And what three things to you want to cross off next?
Shoot a billboard, write and direct a film and shoot an underwater series at Jellyfish Lake off Palau Island.
Tell us about the floral series you shot.
It’s called “Wild Flowers Can Grow Anywhere” and it depicts a very hazy summer day in a wildflower field. I added smoke bombs to give the photos a mysterious atmosphere. We have some exciting collaborations coming up that I can’t wait to share!
Learn more about Claire at ClaireOring.com