Allison Michael Orenstein (aka A/O) is a New York-based portrait photographer who got her start in high school in Boca Raton. Photographing best friends and crushes evolved into a career connecting with people through her lens.
Her personal project The Queer Artists Series focuses on queer performers. "The artists I shoot are those whose work I love and admire. The portraits are a way to get to know them. I want to document queerness, otherness, at this moment in time in New York City."
A/O loves shooting celebrities. A highlight was photographing comedian Tim Conway. “When I got to the shoot, I told him it was my birthday and he said, “Why are we here?!?! We should go out and celebrate and eat some cake!” We didn’t eat cake but we did have fun, and he gave me one of his books. I asked him to sign it for my Mom, who was also a huge fan, and he wrote, “Dear Roberta, You owe me $12.95. Love, Tim Conway”. Other memorable celeb shoots include Parker Posey, Allison Janney, and Joel Grey.
A former DJ and lifelong comedy fan, A/O uses music and humor to help her subjects relax. She curates playlists (mixtapes) for her subjects on Spotify. Olivia Newton-John for Toni Collette, a sugar-themed playlist for Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, and blues and honky-tonk for John Waters. As for comedy, she has 5 go-to jokes that are guaranteed to get laughs, just ask her assistants.
A/O currently lives in Williamsburg with her three favorite subjects, her wife Simone and their Insta-famous dachshunds Louie and Teddy. Follow them @louiesaintlaurent
OLAY, Ford, Walgreens, U.S. Bank, Delta, Knoll, Walmart, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Food & Wine, BlackBook, New York Magazine, Vogue, Elle, Interview, Artforum, The Guardian, Spin, Real Simple, People, The Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Town & Country.
EXHIBITIONS, AWARDS & ACCOLADES
2023 American Photography 39
2022 American Photography 38
2021 American Photography 37
2020 American Photography 36
2019 Found Artists Delta Sky Magazine
2018 Cave Homo Zine Exhibition, Fierman Gallery
2018 Marks of Resistance Exhibition, Clifford Chance US LLP’s Art Program
2018 Cast of Characters Exhibition, Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
2017 Kaltblut. Magazine The Somnambulist
2016 Grand Prize Winner PDN Faces Competition
2016 The Photographic Journal The Somnambulist
2015 Communication Arts Photography Annual 56
2015 American Photography 31
2014 PDN Photo of the Day
2014 PDN Faces
2014 Purple and Gold Exhibition NYC and LA
2012 American Photography 28
2010 The Advocate Artist's Spotlight
2009 Feature Shoot
STUDIO AND EDITORIAL:
photo by David A. Land