Get to know Oriana Koren of Oriana Koren Weddings!
1. What is the mission of your company?
As an artist, I’ve made it my duty to reflect the way we celebrate marriage today. I am most interested in the ways in which we subvert, disrupt, and ultimately, reclaim what marriage can be for each and every one of us. I am lucky to be able to document vanguards who are celebrating community and inclusion as primary to what it is to be in love and to marry in these times.
2. What is your company's origin story?
Right out of college, I was recruited by Bella Pictures to join their six week internship and those six weeks were the basic building blocks for my initial interest in wedding photography. Over the course of the six weeks, I noticed I was photographing a lot of the same weddings: the locations were different but everyone looked exactly the same which was disconcerting since I was living in Chicago amongst such a diverse population. In college, I studied photography with a specific focus on documentary photography and simultaneously studied creative non fiction. I have always been interested in the stories we carry with us daily, most especially the narratives of how we connect with one another. Due to my documentary background, my feminist beliefs, and deep personal interest in representation for underrepresented groups in visual media, I realized I could tap into a niche market catering to couples who were “non-traditional”: same sex couples, interracial couples, couples of color, folks celebrating hybrid cultural weddings, feminist identified and gender role subverting couples — the stuff you don’t see lauded in the wedding industry but are very important in terms of documenting a fair and varied history of marriage in the US.
3. What is one of your favorite projects you've ever worked on?
That's a tough question! Overall, 2012-2013 wedding season was the most rewarding season of shooting I've ever had. The Universe shifted in such a way that I photographed these couples that really embodied how I viewed the celebration of marriage in this very specific moment in history. Not only were all of my couples exceptionally generous and kind human beings, they were also breaking barriers in their respective fields and breaking barriers in their individual celebrations. It was astounding to be a part of these weddings and I'm glad to say, I've forged really strong friendships with many of the couples I photographed during that period.
4. How are you a "wedding space disrupter"?
During a conversation back in February with Carly Romeo, we were talking about a workshop we'd both been invited to participate in after having spent an hour or more talking about being a feminist in the wedding industry, and I mentioned I hoped she would attend to do some space disrupting. That language found me in the midst of this discussion with Carly. If it hadn't been for that conversation and a lot of the thinking I'd done about infiltrating and affecting certain spaces, that language might not have come up in our collective consciousness which is why it is so important to talk with like-minded artists and be really thoughtful and intentional about your work as an artist. I've been a wedding space disrupter before I discovered that language thanks to that conversation. While my wedding photography approach is inherently feminist, speaking with Carly made me realize that in the six years I’ve been purposely raising sand in the industry by documenting couples who buck tradition to create their own singular celebrations; I’ve never just outright said “hey, I’m a feminist and I’m here to disrupt the exclusive, patriarchal, and rigid industry to make space for everyone!!!” I wear that title with the utmost pride.
5. What three ingredients are necessary for a great day at your company?
Curiosity, generosity, and the penchant to take risky risks!
6. What kind of couple makes an ideal client for your company?
I am inspired by people who are unabashedly themselves. Folks who are just fearlessly authentic who care about the people around them. Folks who realize that life is messy and openly embrace the messiness of life. I am most attracted to rule breakers, vanguards: people who know when to listen to their hearts and follow that narrative, regardless of what others may think or what they’ve been told they must do or think. Those are the kinds of people I find inspiring to be around, work with, and get to know!
If you like what you see, check out more on Oriana's website!