Monday 6 June 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Born and raised in New Jersey, Loren Haynes began its career as an actor. He attended acting classes at an early age and studied with Lee Strasberg from the Actor’s Studio. In the 80’s, he played on and off-Broadway as well as on TV and cinema. In the late 80’s, he decided to give up on acting because he was disappointed not to get better parts and feared that his career would never really launch. He then re-oriented himself in photography. He took pictures for the first time when he was 15 at a Patti Smith concert with a borrowed camera but didn’t know at the time photography would be a great part of his career. "I immediatly saw the world took on a different perspective; all of a sudden there’s nothing except what the camera was pointing at and you" he said of this first experience in an interview for Tori fanzine Little Blue World in winter 2005. After making the decision to quit acting, he begins to work for Spin Magazine in the late 80’s-early 90’s and becomes a commercial photographer. He thus photographs Pat Benatar, Bono from U2...

He meets Tori in 1992, before the release of her first album, Little Earthquakes. "I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico over Christmas, and I ran into Arthur Spivak at a restaurant, and he asked what I was up to. I just had started my career in photography and working for Spin. He told me about this girl he was representing and how great she was. A combination of Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush was how he described her. He was talking about Tori and Little Earthquakes wasn’t yet released. I said I would convince the publisher of Spin, Bob Cuccione Jr., to run a story. We did run a one pager. I photographed Tori in L.A. at a friend’s apartment that had a bed with a large crucifix on the headboard." This photoshoot, famous to Tori fans, was then her first big publication in press. Loren and Tori will work several times together over the years, the photographer taking pictures of her for Spin Magazine.

In 1998, he works with Tori on an official project: he films and photographs the Plugged Tour final show, as well as behind-the-scenes material for what had to become "a video or short film", but without any further details at the time. Loren explained that he traveled with the band and was always glued to Tori, backstage or onstage, so as not to lose anything. The photographer used only one camera he was shooting and had a camera assistant to help him. He said that he based his concept around the idea of the musical movie The Wizard of Oz: "...everything would be shot in black and white until Tori and the band come on stage, then everything will be color. Just like Dorothy enters Oz. The stage would be Tori’s alter-universe."

These images would become the "Bliss" video, but at the time of the shooting, Tori didn’t know she would make another album so soon and the song didn’t exist at all. The project seemed doomed at the time because neither Loren nor Tori knew what to do with the footage: the photographer made a first edit but to a U2 song as he didn’t have any Tori song to shape the video. Tori saw and loved the footage and told the photographer she would write a new song to go with it.

A few months later, she came back with "Bliss" and Loren made a final edit that gives impression to the viewer that Tori sings the song when we see her on stage. "Bliss" became the first and main single for To Venus and Back, her fifth album and the video was nominated for "Best Video made for under $30,000" by the Music Video Producers Association. Part of the gorgeous black and white photographs Loren Haynes made that night were also included in the album booklet and in the tourbook. The photographer said to Little Blue World that it was his favorite project with Tori because they were so close. "There were no restrictions; even on stage with Tori during the show, which was probably the most intimate I have ever been with an artist", he said.